Lawmakers consider triple-time pay for holiday retail workers

Local News

Many people who work on a holiday are compensated with more pay or an extra day off. But what if you got paid triple-time?

SB234 would make that a reality for those in the retail industry.

Before Sen. Roz Baker, D-South, West Maui, chair of the Senate commerce and consumer protection committee, became a lawmaker, she owned a store on the Valley Isle.

“We did pay, on occasion, triple-time in order to have employees work for us if we wanted to be open on Thanksgiving,” she said.

Baker introduced a bill in the Legislature that would require all retail employers to do that–pay workers three times their regular wage on all state holidays.

The bill talks about the increasing number of retailers that open their doors on holidays and says, “…the employees who are asked and expected to work these hours are sacrificing cherished time away from their families and friends…”

“Some of the other industries or other establishments do have tips involved so they’re not likely to be minimum wage jobs,” Baker said.

Another part of this bill would prevent retail employers from firing or taking any other kind of action against an employee who chooses not to work on a state holiday.

“I think that’s a great incentive. I was in retail for 10 years and had to work on holidays and it just sucks,” said former retail worker Brian Czech.

“I could see double-time or time-and-a-half, matching what regular or other employees would get if they were working on that holiday, but it seems triple-time would be a little over excessive,” said shopper Derek Fondy.

The majority of organizations and business owners who submitted testimony believe it would be too excessive and say they already have to deal with rising health care costs and wages.

“What would you say to critics who believe you will still make out if you pay your employees triple-time on a state holiday because you’re a big company?” KHON2 asked.

“I invite those critics to take a look at our financials and see the low margins we work on already. Business is very competitive and we have to offer the best prices to consumers,” said Mark Storfer, executive vice president of Hilo Hattie.

There was a hearing on the bill Thursday, but decision making was deferred. Baker says the bill could be amended to focus more on certain state holidays instead of paying triple-time for all of them.

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