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Hawaii Senate bill would hike minimum wage to $12 an hour on Oct. 1

                                State Sen. Kurt Fevella.
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State Sen. Kurt Fevella.

The state Senate has introduced its version of a bill to raise Hawaii’s $10.10 an hour minimum wage — starting with an initial jump to $12 per hour starting Oct. 1.

Senate Bill 2018 would then increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2024, and then to $18 an hour on Jan. 1, 2026.

State Sen. Kurt Fevella, (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point), is the lone Republican senator and one of 21 senators to introduce SB 2018.

“I’m working closely with my colleagues,” Fevella told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It’s time. … We need to start somewhere and we need to start now. It’s long overdue for a minimum wage increase so people can get a decent living wage.”

The House is expected to submit its version on Monday to also increase the minimum wage to $18 an hour, but no timetable has been announced.

Hawaii’s minimum wage last increased from $9.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour in 2018.

Legislators had hoped to pass legislation boosting the minimum wage at the start of the 2020 session, but the plans were scuttled as COVID-19 all but shuttered Hawaii’s economy.

Following layoffs and job losses spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii’s economic rebound has led to new calls to increase the minimum wage to $18 an hour.

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