Any nonremote Portland minimum wage worker will get $21 an hour under the hazard pay ordinance until the state of emergency passes
In this Dec. 23, 2022, file photo, a man surveys the flooding on the Portland waterfront at high tide. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Portland workers will get hazard pay during the Hurricane Lee state of emergency.

Under Portland’s minimum wage ordinance, nonremote workers will get 1.5 times the city’s prevailing minimum wage during states of emergency, according to Jessica Grondin, a spokesperson for the city.

That means a worker earning Portland’s hourly minimum wage of $14 will now earn $21. For tipped workers, their hourly wage will increase to $10.50.

Any workers whose jobs are conducted remotely aren’t eligible for the hazard pay, Grondin said Friday.

On Thursday, Gov. Janet Mills issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency to mobilize additional resources to prepare the state for the arrival of Hurricane Lee this weekend. That order will remain in place until “the danger has passed or the emergency conditions no longer exist.”

Mills also asked President Joe Biden to issue a state of emergency for Maine to allow the state to access additional federal resources for its response to Hurricane Lee. On Friday, Biden issued that presidential emergency disaster declaration.

The governor has cautioned Mainers that Hurricane Lee’s high winds, big surf and heavy rain may create dangerous conditions that pose “an imminent threat” to life and property.

Additionally, the heavy summer rain has increased soil saturation, flooding and nutrient runoff that has worsened tree health, and combined with the high winds, creates the conditions for widespread power outages.

Hurricane Lee is currently tracking farther to the east and likely to pass Down East Maine and travel up the Bay of Fundy into Canada. That will likely lessen the impact from the storm on southern and central Maine and concentrate its worst effects over parts of the midcoast and Down East Maine, according to meteorologists with CBS affiliate WGME.

The impacts from Lee will be felt between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, with the worst of the storm happening from the afternoon into the night. Lee will produce strong waves and winds in excess of 50 mph.

Portland voters approved the hazard pay ordinance for minimum wage workers in a referendum during the November 2020 election, which saw a large slate of progressive ballot questions. Business groups launched legal challenges to the ordinance, but the Maine Supreme Judicial Court declined to overturn a lower court decision that allowed the hazard pay to stand. It took effect in 2022.