The state’s two largest banks are joining a trend by companies on the mainland in giving employees bonuses of at least $1,000 and increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Bank of Hawaii, the state’s second-largest bank, said this afternoon it will give out $1,000 cash bonuses to 2,074 employees, or 95 percent of its workforce. The bank also will increase the minimum wage at the bank to $15 an hour.
First Hawaiian Bank, which had been planning to make a similar announcement on Christmas, said later in the day it would give out $1,500 cash bonuses to 2,264 employees, or all but 11 members of its senior management team. The state’s largest bank also will increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The changes came following the passage of the $1.5 trillion Republican tax overhaul that will save companies money by lowering income taxes. The federal corporate tax rate will be reduced to 21 percent from 35 percent beginning Jan. 1.
Bankoh, which has 2,173 employees, said it will reward all employees below the senior vice president level with the cash bonus that will be payable next week.
The bank also said it will increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour, effective Jan. 1, from the current $12 an hour. That move will affect 565 employees and will put them well in excess of the new state minimum wage of $10.10 an hour that is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. The current state minimum wage is $9.25 an hour.
First Hawaiian said it will be increasing its minimum wage for the second time in three months. In October, the bank said it adjusted the minimum teller wage to $12.75 an hour from $12 an hour and now that wage will go up to $15 an hour starting Jan. 1. The move will affect 613 employees.
The $1,500 bonuses from First Hawaiian will be paid in early January.
The announcements by Bankoh and First Hawaiian follow in the footsteps of several mainland companies that have given their employees $1,000 bonuses, increased worker pay, or both, after the passage of the tax bill.