Hawaii Cannot Afford Low-Wage Jobs03/08/2013
Affording the basics remains a challenge for many in Hawaii, as the cost of housing, rent, and gasoline continues to rise each year. But there’s a flipside to the struggle that many workers face making ends meet — far too many jobs in Hawaii pay low wages that leave full-time workers stuck in poverty.
Despite having the highest cost of living in the country, Hawaii’s minimum wage remains stuck at the federal level of $7.25 per hour, which translates to just $15,080 per year for a full-time worker. This outdated and inadequate minimum wage means that many of the jobs in the state’s main industries, like retail and hospitality, pay too little for workers to afford a basic standard of living.
A proposal currently pending in the Legislature would help address the growth of low-wage jobs in Hawaii by raising the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 per hour and indexing the minimum wage to rise automatically each year with the cost of living.