Minimum Wage Bill Still Relevant In Hawaii Legislature


Hawaii won’t see an increase in the state’s minimum wage this year, but yet another measure being drafted in the legislature also involves the same law.

Senate Bill 793 calls for the repeal of the section of state law that denies people with disabilities a guaranteed minimum wage, which is currently $ 10.10 an hour in Hawaii.

Essentially, the current law allows payment in lieu of less than minimum wage for workers with disabilities.

SB 793 explain that lawmakers believe that “real disability issues do not stem from the medical conditions themselves, but rather from the low expectations, misinformation and socially constructed systemic barriers associated with these conditions.”

State Senator Sharon Moriwaki is the lead author of SB 793. Cory Lum / Civil beat

He adds: “People with disabilities face low expectations, especially when it comes to employment and the system that prepares them for employment, such as education and rehabilitation programs.”

The origins of the Exemption Date from the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act 1938. SB 793 says the federal law no longer fulfills its original intention of creating jobs for people with disabilities and in fact “goes against” the United States Disability Act that was enacted in 1990.

The law project has the support from the State Department of Health, Disability and Communication Access Board, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Hawaii State Committee of Blind Vendors, and many other groups.

The problem is that the House and Senate have yet to agree on the wording of SB 793.

Senator Sharon Moriwaki, the main sponsor of the bill, remains hopeful of a possible passage, but notes that similar measures have disappeared in previous sessions.

“I don’t want him to die,” she said on Wednesday. “We need this bill because we really need to treat people with disabilities fairly.”

SB 793 has a Thursday noon conference committee meeting and faces a 6pm Friday deadline in order to move forward. The 2021 session ends on April 29.


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