Hawaii's minimum wage workers get a raise

Hawaii's minimum wage workers get a raise

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's minimum wage went up up to $10.10 per hour starting New Year's Day.

This is the final jump under a 2014 law that established annual minimum wage increases in the state through 2018.

About 51,000 Hawaii workers will benefit from the raise, which totals $68.5 million in annual wages across the state, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The increase still falls short of a "living wage," according to estimates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which place the living wage for a single adult without children at $14.97 in Hawaii.

State lawmakers have supported additional minimum wage increases, but so far, none have passed.

One bill introduced this year called for increases through 2021, capping at $15 per hour. Another bill called for raises through 2022, with a $15 per hour wage as early as 2019, and a cap at $22 per hour. Both bills will be carried over to the upcoming legislative session.

Critics of the measures say they would hurt small businesses, driving up prices and cutting employment. But supporters say a higher minimum wage would help workers afford large expenses like housing, and reduce the need for state subsidies.

Four of Hawaii's banks are already raising pay for their workers without waiting for a mandate from the state. First Hawaiian Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, and Territorial Savings Bank have all announced they will offer a $15 per hour minimum wage next year.

Hawaii is one of 18 states that will raise its minimum wage in the new year.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.