2018 Challenges in the Hawaii Legislature

Date: June 15, 2017

Return appearance of some bad-for-small-business bills on paid leave and minimum wage expected

The 2018 half of the 29th Hawaii Legislature convenes January 17 with some immediate work awaiting NFIB

Defeating Paid Leave Proposals
House Bill 4 ran out of gas in the 2017 session, but NFIB is prepared for its return or similar measures aimed at doing the same things. HB 4 would have required employer-paid sick leave for both full-time and part-time employees, tied the mandate to employees’ pay, and required employers to pay for up to 40 hours of leave per year for employees who earn less than $15 per hour.

NFIB succeed in dissuading lawmakers from passing the bill, pointing out its flawed carve out for highly paid employees, potential conflicts with other laws, and its many cost and logistical challenges. Click here for further details.

The good news is that that vast majority of businesses already offer paid or unpaid time off for a variety of reasons, sickness, care for a family member, victim of domestic violence (see infographic here). Furthermore, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act “provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.”

As NFIB continues to remind legislators, small-businesses owners know all their employees on a personal level, and most offer paid time off on a case-by-case basis, providing the employee what he or she needs in a way the business can afford. Mandatory paid leave would only impose unnecessary limitations on these businesses. Such initiatives assume one size fits all. But particularly in the small-business world, what works in one company could be detrimental for the next. The rigid nature of these programs often has a negative impact on employee morale. For more information on how devastating paid leave proposals could be, the Research Foundation of NFIB took a detailed look at a federal proposal, using sophisticated BSIM modeling (Business Size Insight Module). It can be read here.

Stopping Job-Killing Minimum Wage Legislation
Despite Hawaii’s minimum wage already scheduled for an increase on January 1, 2018, to $10.10 an hour, three bills were introduced last session seeking to boost it to $15 per hours, allowing counties to set their rate’s higher than the state’s, and linking future increases to the Honolulu region consumer price index.

NFIB will once again work for the defeat of these proposals by reminding legislators of the punishing effects raising rates has on teens and young adults starting out their work lives and that no credible study shows increasing minimum-wage rates correlating to lifting anyone out of poverty.

The minimum wage is earned by just 2.7 percent of the nation’s workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and most of them “tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly-paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 10 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 2 percent of workers age 25 and older.”


Related Content: Issues | State | Hawaii | Minimum Wage | Paid Leave

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