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Bill Advances to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

The Hawai‘i Senate announces that today, Feb. 6, 2018, measures intended to boost the state’s economy by increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next two years and to create a family leave plan to help family caregivers were advanced by the Senate Committee on Labor.

Senate Bill 2291 would increase the minimum wage to $12.25 per hour in 2019 and $15 per hour in 2020.

Click to submit testimony

The measure would eliminate the lower minimum wage for tipped workers, and provide automatic cost-of-living increases. Testimony in favor of the bill support Hawai‘i workers by providing an adequate hourly wage to reflect the state’s high cost of living.

Senate Bill 2990 would establish a paid family leave program and lay the groundwork to implement a framework of laws and policies so that all employees can access leave benefits during times when they need to provide care for a family member. It would also establish a paid family leave implementation board. In Hawai‘i, 247,000 people serve as family caregivers. Of those who would benefit from paid family leave, it is estimated nearly one-third would take those leave benefits to care for an ill spouse or elderly parent. Most family caregivers are unable to afford to take time off from work.

“Both of these measures address critical issues for working families,” said Chair of the Senate Committee on Labor Sen. Tokuda. “With so many families struggling just to survive in our islands, putting money into the hands of Hawai‘i’s working people and reducing income inequality will have positive economic benefits throughout our communities. Having the assurance of paid family leave benefits Hawai‘i’s economy by giving caregivers stability during times when they need it most, and ensures they can return back to the workforce when ready.”

SB2291 and SB2990 now go before the Senate Committee on Ways and Means for further consideration.

Hawaii Representative Sponsors $15 Minimum Wage Bill

State Representative Kaniela Ing (D-South Maui), is sponsoring legislation to increase Hawaii’s minimum wage to $15 by 2019 and $22 by 2022. The bill will also tie the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index and eliminates the exemption for tipped employees. Ing says the bill will be the nation’s most progressive “living wage” law, and encompasses the spirit of the grassroots Fight for $15 movement.

“Hawaii is the most expensive state in the nation. Other high cost of living states and cities like Seattle, California, and New York have already passed $15 minimum wage laws,” said Ing. “Working families are struggling, so we as legislators have a moral obligation to act. The evidence shows that raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour is the single most impactful policy for Hawaii’s most vulnerable.”

Ing said that jurisdictions that have already won their “Fight for $15” are seeing businesses thrive, new restaurants open, and reduced income inequality. Hawaii is late to the party, and we need the raise desperately.

“I expect various big-money special interests to oppose the bill, but my hope is that empirical facts, popular opinion, and baseline morality will in prevail in the end,” he said.

For more information please see http://Hawaiifightfor15.com or its Facebook page at http://Facebook.com/fightfor15hawaii.

Hawaii Minimum Wage Increasing on January 1, 2017

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced that per Act 82, Session Laws of Hawaii (2014), the minimum wage for most employers will increase to $9.25 per hour beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. This is third rise in the minimum wage since 2015: from $7.25 to $7.75 on Jan. 1, 2015, and to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2016. The next scheduled raise is Jan. 1, 2018 when it will increase to $10.10. Previously, the minimum wage had stayed the same for eight years ($7.25 Jan. 1, 2007—Jan. 1, 2015).

Hawaii’s unemployment rate was 3.0% in November while the record labor force included 696,850.

For more information about minimum wage, please visit: http://labor.hawaii.gov/wsd/minimum-wage/

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program – Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. TDD/TTY Dial 711 then ask for (808) 586-8866

Island Naturals Implements $10 Per Hour Minimum Wages

As of July 2015 Island Naturals Markets has established a $10 per hour minimum wage for all employees.

Island Naturals

While most staff are already above $10/hour, some entry level employees got an unexpected raise in their paycheck this month as the company adopted the voluntary higher minimum wage standard.

Russell Ruderman, President of Island Naturals, who was recently awarded the State of Hawaii Small Business Administration, Businessperson of the Year, believes strongly in investing in his staff for motivational and retention purposes.

“In recent months we have seen some national companies raise their minimum wage voluntarily, and we want to be in the forefront of this movement locally.  But it’s also the right thing to do. Treating employees well, and paying them well, is good business!” said Ruderman.  “Island Naturals values our staff and strives to provide a good work environment, higher wages than local standards, and treats staff with respect.”

“While $10/hour is not a true living wage in Hawaii, this is a step in the right direction, as raising our minimum also results in higher wages for mid-level staff.  Doing so approaches a living wage for more and more workers. We are happy to share our success with our staff, and we all work together to make our company successful, said Ruderman.”

Island Naturals is the leading group of naturals food stores on the Big Island with three locations in Hilo, Pahoa and Kailua-Kona.  Island Naturals has more than 200 employees.