$14K in Back Wages, Penalties Recovered for Maui Surf Instructors

December 11, 2017, 11:06 AM HST · Updated December 11, 11:06 AM
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Maui’s popular surf spot, Honolua Bay. File photo: Nick Ricca

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations recovered $14,360.12 in back wages and penalties on a wage complaint made by two surf instructors hired by a Maui business that offers a variety of ocean-related recreational activities.

“The Legislature created a new administrative process for wage law along with a new, minimum $500 penalty to act as a deterrent,” said DLIR acting Director Leonard Hoshijo. “By adding more teeth to the enforcement of wage laws, the Legislature is helping us ensure that workers are paid fairly for the work they perform.”

The department collected $13,360.12, which included twice the amount of unpaid wages and interest due to the surf instructors, plus a penalty of $1,000 to the State general fund. State officials say the change in the law provided an efficient process to implement existing penalties payable to employees, recover unpaid wages, and impose an administrative penalty paid to the State.

The Payment of Wages and Other Compensation Law, Chapter 388, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, applies to all private businesses with employees working in Hawaiʻi.

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Department officials suggest that employers to review their payment processes if they want to avoid paying these penalties. Some common problems that occur are: failure to notify employees at the time of hiring of the rate of pay, the time and place of payment; failing to notify employees in writing of any changes to payment agreements; failure to pay employees at least twice a month; failure to pay employees within seven days after the end of the pay period; and failure to pay an employee their full wages due at the time when the employee is terminated. All of these common violations were cited in this Maui case.

The department did not specify the name of the Maui business involved in the case.

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