HONOLULU (KHON2) — A proposed bill to almost double Hawaii’s minimum wage by 2026 is under consideration by State lawmakers.

The pay hikes would come in steps if the bill is passed.

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Hawaii’s minimum wage sits at $10.10, but Sen. Brian Taniguchi wants it to be at $18 by Jan. 1, 2026.
The senator said the increase is long overdue.

“So Hawaii used to be kind of at the forefront of these kind of Progressive labor type issues. This one we felt, was one that we’ve fallen way behind.”

Sen. Brian Taniguchi, Committee on Labor, Culture & Arts

SB2018 would increase Hawaii’s minimum wage to $12 in October 2022, $15 at the start of 2024 and $18 when 2026 rolls around. Taniguchi said the gradual increase will be easier on employers than one large jump.

“My sense was we needed to do it in chunks, steps because it is hard on employers,” Sen. Taniguchi said.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association says the bill may be too ambitious — even though local restaurants have partially recovered since the pandemic first hit.

“But it’s nowhere near what we were two years ago, pre-pandemic,” said Hawaii Restaurant Association legislative lead Victor Lim.

“To most of our people, I will say it’s probably way more aggressive than something that we would like to be able to see and that we could handle and absorb.”

VICTOR LIM, Hawaii Restaurant Association legislative lead

The Restaurant Association put out a brief survey for businesses to give feedback on how the increase will impact them. Click here to fill out the survey.

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A legislative hearing on SB2018 will be held on Monday, Jan. 24 at 3:00 p.m.