Supporting HB2510

HWC Testimony, final hearing, HB2510 on the Minimum Wage, 4-4-22

The Hawaii Workers Center wholeheartedly supports HB2510 SD1 because it will raise
the state minimum wage to $18 by 2026. It already costs more than $19 an hour for a
single adult with no children to just barely make ends meet in Hawaiʻi today,   Our
Center strongly agrees with the Senate Labor Committee’s recommended timeline. 
Ideally, the minimum wage should reach $25 within the next several years, although
$18 is a good step forward from the current $10.10 minimum wage.  But given Hawaii’s
high cost-of-living, much more is needed.

This hike in the minimum wage to $18 would put more than $16,000 in additional pay in
the pockets of Hawaiʻi’s minimum wage workers by the year 2026, an amount that
would be truly transformational for many struggling right now.  We believe the overall
economy will do better if low-wage workers can purchase more of what they and their
families need.

The Center believes that the harmful state tip penalty should be removed. The tip
penalty allows some business owners to pay their workers a sub-minimum wage while
subsidizing their labor costs through customer tipping. The so-called tip “credit” not only
allows the business owner to offload labor costs onto the customer, it’s also routinely
misapplied, resulting in billions of dollars in stolen wages across the U.S. every year. On
top of that, workers that are forced to work for tips to survive are exposed to far higher
rates of sexual harassment and other forms of violence in the work place.

All business owners should be required to pay all their workers a living wage—enough
for them to not just survive, but thrive on, and not have to work 2 or 3 jobs or rely on
receiving tips for their service.

We support the Earned Income Tax Credit as well, and would be happy to see the re-
inclusion of a permanent and refundable EITC component in this bill as an added way to
put more money into the pockets of working families.

We urge our legislators to support this bill. It will have a significant and beneficial impact
for Hawaiʻi’s low-wage workers and their families.

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