News & Announcements

Are You Ready for the New Laws Taking Effect in 2019?

Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2018 6:27 am

2019 is just around the corner.  Are you ready?  Here are some of the changes taking effect in January that may be of interest to Hawaii employers:

  • Hawaii Pay Secrecy Law – Beginning January 1, 2019, Hawaii law will prohibit employers from inquiring into a job applicant’s salary history and relying on salary history in determining compensation for a potential hire. Employers should ensure their job applications are updated and everyone involved in the hiring process is trained on what they can and cannot say in discussions with job candidates.  To learn more about the Pay Secrecy Law, including recommended employer actions and how HEC can help you with an effective compensation strategy, click here.
  • Hawaii Service Animal LawAct 217, effective January 1, 2019, establishes (1) a civil penalty ($100-$500) for fraudulently representing an animal as a service animal and (2) a definition of “service animal” that more closely conforms with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Before you start implementing company policies about service animals, however, note that under the ADA, when an individual comes to a business with a service animal, if the individual’s disability and the service the animal provides is not obvious, only two limited inquiries are allowed by law:  (1) whether the dog is a service animal required because of a disability and (2) what work or task the dog has been trained to perform.  Pursuant to U.S. Department of Justice guidance, no other inquiry or request for documentation or proof is allowed.  Read more about the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and Disability Communication Access Board’s view about this new law and its relation to the ADA.
  • Federal Contractor Minimum Wage – Beginning January 1, 2019, the minimum wage for workers performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts will rise to $10.60. The minimum wage for covered tipped employees will rise to $7.40.  Read more.
  • Tax Cut and Jobs Act - Individual Mandate Eliminated – Currently, the IRS imposes an excise tax on individuals who fail to maintain health insurance for themselves and their family members pursuant to the Affordable Care Act. Effective January 1, 2019, the penalty is reduced to zero, effectively eliminating the individual mandate.
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