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Should Hawai‘i’s Minimum Wage Go From $10.10 to $15 an Hour?

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Should Hawaiʻi increase the state’s minimum wage from $10.10 an hour to a proposed $15 per hour?

An overwhelming 88% of respondents said no to the question in a poll of members at the National Federation of Independent Business Hawaiʻi.

The small-business association asked members about state and federal issues affecting their right to own, operate and grow their businesses.

On the topic of Hawaiʻi’s minimum wage, only 7% were in support of increasing it to $15 an hour; and 5% were undecided on the issue.

“Hawaiʻi raised its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour just last year,” said Melissa Pavlicek, NFIB Hawaiʻi’s state director. “To do so again, especially by such a huge amount, will almost certainly stall hiring plans, overtime calculations, business expansion and have a ripple effect on other business operations. Hawaiʻi employers have the added expense of complying with the state’s Prepaid Healthcare Act, which should be considered when examining the minimum wage. Raising minimum wage rates shuts the door on younger workers who are looking for their first job opportunity.”


Senate Bill 168, which was introduced on Friday, seeks to increase the minimum wage in Hawaiʻi to $15 beginning in January of 2020, and would allow counties to set their own minimum wage at a rate that is higher than the state minimum wage rate.


Backers of a similar bill last year said an increase would help struggling families and reduce income inequality.

The question was among five included on the 2019 Hawaiʻi state member ballot.

Other questions and member responses included the following:


In light of a recent US Supreme Court ruling, should Hawaiʻi enact legislation promoting public sector union membership?
Yes: 2%
No: 81%
Undecided: 17%

Do you support legislation requiring employers who do not offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan to offer a Hawaiʻi state-sponsored retirement account for their employees?
Yes: 9%
No: 77%
Undecided: 14%

Should Hawaiʻi pass legislation that expands crowdsourced funding to public/private infrastructure projects?
Yes: 14%
No: 52%
Undecided: 33%

Should employees have the right to examine their personnel file upon request?
Yes: 39%
No: 43%
Undecided: 18%

NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan and member-driven. It is exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses.

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