Minimum wage, paid sick leave, predictive scheduling top three issues facing small business
The 31st Hawaii State Legislature opened for business on January 20, 2021, and will adjourn its regular session on April 29. Three issues of paramount importance to small businesses will have the attention of NFIB’s lobbying efforts
Stopping Minimum Wage Increase Bills
The minimum wage has always been, and will always be, an entry-level wage earned mostly by teens and young adults starting out on their working lives. It’s also a wage earned by the least skilled. Raising the minimum wage harms both these groups by eliminating opportunities to have a job long enough to begin earning higher wages. More information is available from this story, Who Really Earns the Minimum Wage?
The federal minimum wage, which states are allowed to exceed but not be lower than, is currently $7.25 per hour, Hawaii’s is currently $10.10. Currently, there are 20 minimum wage bills in the Legislature increasing Hawaii’s minimum wage by 50% to 100%.
These bills could increase the starting wage to as high as $22 per hour. The Biden administration is pushing for a national minimum wage rate of $15 an hour, which will severely impact Main Street enterprises. NFIB will lobby the Hawaii Legislature to at least wait to see what transpires at the federal level before recklessly racing ahead with its own minimum-wage increase.
Defeating Employer-Paid Sick Leave
First the good news:
- Research from NFIB shows that 73% of small businesses already offer paid time off—and for any reason the employee chooses: sickness, care for a family member, parental duties, domestic violence, etc. This allows the employee and employer to tailor the time off to the employee’s needs instead of forcing them to wriggle around in a state-imposed straitjacket.
- As an added layer of security, 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.”
- Congress passed the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, offering two weeks of an employee’s regular pay for COVID-19-related illnesses.
NFIB will oppose any new mandatory employer-paid sick leave proposal as not only economically or logistically not feasible, especially for part-time employees, but also because Hawaii’s Prepaid Healthcare Act continues to provide leave for workers over 20 1/2 hours per week.
This terrible idea has been bandied about for a few previous sessions of the Legislature. If introduced again, this bill would require employers to give a minimum of 10 days’ written notice of employee’s schedules or pay the employees two times their normal wage. This bill would greatly threaten employer flexibility. At a time when one-in-four small-business owners doubt whether they can continue to operate more than six months, the last things they need are higher taxes and crippling regulations like predictive scheduling. NFIB will continue to fight predictive scheduling.