Blog Archives

Legislative Updates
American Payroll Association 2015 Employment Law Update

Last Friday, I presented a 2015 Employment Law Update to the Hawaii Chapter of the American Payroll Association.  The presentation was held in the sports room at Dave and Busters and it was an interesting experience being in that room with the big TVs and projection screen, but for a work function instead of watching the football or basketball games.

APA employment law update

My discussion included three main parts:  (1) Hawaii legislative updates; (2) recent actions by the United States Department of Labor and Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; and (3) decisions from the Hawaii Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court, and the National Labor Relations Board.

For the Hawaii legislative update, the topics included:

  • E-Cigarettes
  • Porterage Charge Disclosures/Distribution
  • Non-Compete Agreements
  • Medical Marijuana

For the DOL/DLIR update, we discussed the following topics:

  • DOL’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Exempt Positions
  • Independent Contractors

Finally, my discussion on recent court and Board decisions covered the following topics:

  • Joint employer status
  • Arrest and court record discrimination in hiring
  • Age discrimination in hiring
  • Religious discrimination in hiring
HEC 2015 Hawaii State Legislative Update

For 2015, instead of conducting a formal in-person presentation for the Hawaii State Legislative Update, HEC produced a YouTube video that highlights the few laws that were passed this year.  The video is pretty short (~5 minutes) and provides an update on some new labor and employment laws that resulted from the 2015 legislative session.

To view the video, please click on the following link:  HEC 2015 State Legislative Update

In addition, you can obtain the latest version of HEC’s Legislative Digest here:  Legislative Digest after Veto Deadline.

Finally, as always, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know.  Have a great day!

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Labor Deputy Appointment

This morning, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor approved the appointment of Leonard Hoshijo to serve as the Deputy Director of the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (“DLIR”).  The next step in the process is for the full Senate to vote on whether to confirm Hoshijo’s appointment.


According to a press release issued by Governor Ige, Hoshijo is currently the Education and Policy Director for the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters.  He also previously worked for many years and in many positions for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (“ILWU”).  Several organizations and individuals, including the ILWU, submitted testimony in support of Hoshijo’s appointment.  The testimony can be viewed on the Legislature’s website here:  Hoshijo Testimony.

Interestingly, during the hearing, Senator Keith-Agaran asked Hoshijo whether his extensive background with labor unions would allow him to bring “balance” to the DLIR.  Hoshijo responded he would bring “the perspective of the working people.”  Senator Keith-Agaran then tried to clarify his question by asking whether Hoshijo would be bringing the perspective of unions to his position at the DLIR, and Hoshijo responded that the programs administered by the DLIR serve non-union employees as well.  It appeared from the line of questioning that Senator Keith-Agaran was really asking whether Hoshijo can bring balance between unions and management, but the Senator and appointee were not on the same wavelength.

In addition, Senator Keith-Agaran also asked the representative from Governor Ige’s office about the status of the search for the DLIR Director, but the representative did not have any news to share.

At the conclusion of the hearing, all four senators who were present (Senators Keith-Agaran, Shimabukuro, Espero and Slom) voted in favor of Hosjijo’s appointment.

Quick Reminder: Minimum Wage Just Went Up To $7.75

Hi everybody, the minimum wage just went up!  Yeah, yeah, I get it…old news…you all already know about minimum wage increase. Well, I realize that it’s been discussed ad nauseum, but just in case there are a handful of people out there who forgot to make the requisite changes with their payroll, here’s a quick reminder that the minimum wage has gone up (and will continue to rise) according to the following schedule:

  • January 1, 2015 – $7.75
  • January 1, 2016 – $8.50
  • January 1, 2017 – $9.25
  • January 1, 2018 – $10.10

In addition to the higher minimum wage, there are a couple other things you should know.  First, the tip credit also increased to $0.50 an hour on January 1, 2015 and will tick up to $0.75 an hour on January 1, 2016, provided that the employee earns at least $7.00 above the minimum wage in tipped income and wages.  What does this mean?  Basically, in 2015, employees must make at least 7.50 an hour in tips to qualify for the $0.50 tip credit, which means that employers just lost the $0.25 tip credit they used to have for employees who earn less than $7.50 an hour in tips.  In other words, for employees in low tipped categories who might make just $5-6 an hour in tips, there is no longer a tip credit.

Second, in July 2014, the state DLIR issued a new Wage and Hour that discussed the new minimum wage amounts.  You can get a copy of the new poster here:  July 2014 Wage and Hour Poster.

You can also view the state’s tip credit and minimum wage guide here:  Minimum Wage and Tip Credits.

Workplace Accommodations Made Easy

Hi Everybody!   I hope you’ve all had a great year so far and have at least some free time to enjoy the Holiday Season!  I can’t believe that it’s Thanksgiving week already.  It seems like the days, weeks, months and years seem to go by so much faster as I get older.  Like the saying goes…


Anyway, I wanted to send out a quick blog post to let you all know about an exciting workshop I will be presenting in the first quarter of 2015.  Due to several requests from HEC members, I’ve decided to put together a half-day program discussing the different types of accommodations employers must provide their employees (applicants and volunteers) in the workplace.  The topics of discussion will include accommodations based on disabilities, religion, pregnancy, status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence, and gender identity and expression, as well as others

The seminar will be presented on the following dates and locations.  All sessions will be held from 9 am to 12 noon.  (Click for link to registration form.)

The program will be informative, interactive and (hopefully) fun!  You can register for the event by visiting the training section of the HEC website at  I hope you can join me and Happy Holidays!