Minimum wage in Hawaii will gradually increase starting in 2015

The minimum wage in Hawaii will increase starting in 2015. The wage hike for most employers will first increase to $7.75/hour, and up to $10.10/hour in 2018. But if you’re a tipped employee, however, this may not apply to you, as long as your combined earnings are at least $7 more than the minimum wage. KHON2 reached out to the public to get their thoughts on the wage hike. “Minimum wage in Hawaii is very sad,” said Leonard Zalopany of Kauai. “We live in the most beautiful place on earth, right? The cost of living is probably the highest in the nation. As low as it is, $7.25 is a travesty.” So Zalopany was happy to hear about the gradual wage increase. “It helps, but it’s still not what it should be in the islands. It’s so expensive to live here.” Former Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the minimum wage increase into law in May. Republican State Senator Sam Slom voted against it. “People get minimum wage mixed up with living wage,” said Slom. “It’s not a living wage. It’s an entry wage.” Sen. Slom is also a small business owner who said the minimum wage increase applies to only two percent of the workforce in Hawaii. While the wage hike won’t affect his business directly, he said the increase will force other business owners to spend more. “At some point, it makes people unemployable,” he said. “That’s the really sad part, the unintended consequences.” Student Hoku Tobin disagrees with Senator Slom. Tobin believes the wage increase will help his friends who live off minimum wage. “I know people working multiple jobs,” he said. “They have to work multiple jobs. They miss sleep.” Sen. Slom acknowledges that it is hard to simply live off a minimum wage. “But it was never intended for that. Most, not all, but most people getting minimum wage are young people living at home, or older people who want to do something else.”
Courtesy of KHON2

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