PORTLAND, Maine — The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor plans to raise its lowest full-time wage to $15 an hour for about 800 employees, 539 of whom work for the company in Maine.

The company said the move will increase its total payroll by $3.8 million annually, with wage increases largely going to staff paid hourly in research, administration and operations.

The wage is twice the state minimum wage of $7.50. Voters in November will decide a referendum question on raising the minimum to $12 in phases, then indexing it to inflation.

The research laboratory and global supplier of laboratory mice said in a statement that the wage increase is a reward for increases in productivity.

“It reflects JAX’s understanding of the importance of these roles and both the board’s and management’s ongoing commitment to reward the entire laboratory workforce fairly and appropriately,” Charles Hewett, the lab’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in an announcement Tuesday.

Joyce Peterson, a spokeswoman for the lab, said over the phone that the increase will go primarily to employees in Maine and at its facility in Sacramento, California.

The wage increase pertains to all of the lab’s full-time hourly employees, not including those who are in training.

The company said the move also would help retain employees.

“JAX also anticipates that the increase in its wage scales will help ensure employee retention as well as assist in attracting and hiring committed new employees as the Laboratory grows and prospers in Maine, Connecticut and California,” Hewett wrote.

The company has more than 1,700 employees across all of its locations.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.