Hawaii Passes Several New Employment Laws

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

July 9, 2018

Hawaii governor David Ige signed a flurry of bills into law on July 5, including several affecting employers. The measures included a salary history inquiry ban, a law preserving certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits under state law, authorization for a study to analyze and propose a paid family leave law, and a bill increasing certain workers' compensation benefits.

The equal pay bill (SB 2351) prohibits employers, beginning January 1, 2019, from requesting or considering a job applicant's prior wage or salary history in the job application process. Employers also may not rely on the applicant's salary history during the hiring process in determining the salary, benefits or other compensation for the applicant, including while negotiating an employment contract. In addition, the new law makes it unlawful to prohibit, discriminate or retaliate against employees for disclosing or discussing their wages.

Under SB 2340, certain ACA benefits are established under Hawaii's laws, preserving them in the event that the ACA is repealed. The benefits include:

  • Extending dependent coverage for adult children up to age 26;
  • Prohibiting health insurance companies from excluding pre-existing conditions; and
  • Prohibiting health insurance companies from determining premiums or contributions on the basis of an individual's gender.

The law became effective immediately.

In order to lay the groundwork to pass a statewide paid family leave law, SB 2990 authorizes an analysis of the impacts of, and the best framework for, the establishment of paid family leave in Hawaii. Another bill, HB 1778, provides improved access to comprehensive medical benefits under the workers' compensation law when a cancer diagnosis is presumed to have developed during the course of employment.