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Hawaii Family Leave Law
2017 Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2017 legislative session has come to a close.  This year, state lawmakers ended up passing out several measures that will amend various employment laws in Hawaii.  Such laws include workers’ compensation, payment of wages, Hawaii Family Leave Law, occupational safety and health penalties, and others.  In addition, the legislature also passed out bills with regards to the Affordable Care Act, medical marijuana, non-profit corporations, and privacy of medical records.

Each legislative session, I prepare a legislative digest on behalf of the Hawaii Employers Council (“HEC”) that provides a list and description of the bills we think could have an impact on employers.  To view a copy of the latest version of the legislative digest following the end of session, please click on the following link:  Employment Bills after Sine Die.

I also presented a 45-minute webinar discussing several of these bills.  The webinar is available for HEC members only and can be viewed here:  2017 Legislative Wrap-Up (Recorded Webinar).

2014 Legislative Session: Running Updates

Each year, the Hawaii Employers Council provides its members with updates on labor and employment law bills that are being addressed by the legislature. One of those documents, the Legislative Digest, is actually currently available to the general public, and can be accessed here:  HEC Legislative Updates.

Bills that are still alive as of the Second Lateral deadline address (1) the minimum wage, (2) payment of wages via direct deposit and pay cards, and (3) workers’ compensation drugs, fee schedule and settlements.

For the 2014 Legislative Session, the Legislative Digest is available for the following key deadlines:

  • Bills Introduced (available)
  • First Lateral (available)
  • First Crossover (available)
  • Second Lateral (available)
  • Second Crossover (available)
  • Sine Die  (available)
  • Veto Deadline (available)

As more deadlines pass, I will update this blog entry to indicate when the most recent Legislative Digest is available.

Other updates, such as articles providing a detailed explanation of several of the significant measures and talking points on certain bills, however, are available only to HEC members.

2014 Legislative Forecast

The 2014 Legislative Session begins on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 and runs through May 1, 2014.  This year, the legislature will likely address several labor and employment law bills that could have a significant impact on companies doing business in Hawaii.  Some of those bills include those affecting the following areas of law:

  • Minimum Wage
  • Prevailing Wage Violations for Public Works Projects
  • Successor Employers and Employee Retention
  • Paycheck Withholding Requirements
  • Independent Medical Examinations for WC Cases
  • Social Media Privacy
  • Meal Breaks
  • Sick and Safe Leave
  • Organ Donor Leave
  • Family School Leave
  • Discrimination Against Unemployed Individuals
  • GET Increase

I recently conducted a webinar for HEC members discussing each of these bills and what they could mean for employers. During the webinar, I (a) discussed the proposed changes or additions to Hawaii’s laws and (b) shared my thoughts on the impact that each of these proposed bills could have on companies doing business in Hawaii.  (HEC members can contact me for a copy of the handouts.)

In addition, I was also recently interviewed by the Pacific Business News (“PBN”) on some of the bills we anticipate will be heard during the 2014 legislative session, and their write-up ended up being the cover story for today’s edition of the PBN.  In addition to discussing employment law bills, the PBN article also discussed bills related to other issues affecting Hawaii employers.  PBN subscribers can access the article here:  Major Business Issues Facing the State Legislature in 2014.

On a final note:  To anybody who goes to the Capitol during session, if you see me there (and I will be there often), please feel free to say “Hi.”  Oh, and Happy New Year everybody!

New Employment Laws for 2007
The following are significant labor and employment bills passed by the Hawaii State Legislature in 2007.

Act 265 (Family Leave)This bill provided that only employee may elect to substitute their available paid leave for leave taken under Hawaii Family Leave Law. (Effective July 1, 2007)Act 179 (Drug Testing) – This bill allows employers to use on-site drug screening tests, if they are manufactured in an ISO 13485 certified facility and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This bill eliminates the prior requirement that one-site tests could be used only for pre-employment screening. This bill also requires, however, that any positive test result is followed within four hours by a confirmatory test at a state licensed laboratory. (Effective July 1, 2007)

Special Session Act 5 (Dislocated Workers) – Amended the state Dislocated Workers Act to require notice of “divestiture” involving sale, merger, or other change of ownership transaction. Also, defined covered “closing” to include bankruptcy, loss of lease, or other close of business transaction. (Effective upon approval)

New Employment Laws for 2005
The following are the major labor and employment laws produced by the 2005 state legislative session:

Act 240 (Minimum Wage) - Minimum wage increases to $6.75/hour on January 1, 2006 and $7.25/hour on January 1, 2007. (Effective immediately)

Act 210 (Employee Paystubs) - Allows employers to provide employees with electronic pay records in lieu or paper records, upon written authorization from employee. (Effective July 8, 2005)

Act 243 (HFLL) - Requires employers with 100 or more employees to allow employees to take up to 10 days of sick leave in excess of minimum required under state Temporary Disability Insurance law, for purposes of leave under the Hawaii Family Leave Law. (Effective July 12, 2005)