Every employer in the 50th state should take a few minutes to update the 2008 Hawaii labor law posters. Hawaii requires the fewest labor law posters of any state. This is in keeping with the state’s general trend, to streamline operations and cut red tape for employers.
However, there are still a few posters that employers are required to display. An employer who does not display the proper 2008 Hawaii labor law posters may face penalties and fines.
The official list of updated 2008 Hawaii labor law posters is:
- HIOSH Notice
- Payment of Wages
- Unemployment Insurance
- Minimum Wage
- Workers’ Compensation
- Whistleblower Protection Poster
In addition, every employer in Hawaii must display a number of labor law posters required by federal law. For the most part, these posters address statutes that are nationwide. They include:
- USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
- Federal Minimum Wage
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- OSHA-Job Safety & Health Protection
Labor law poster serve as a handy reminder for supervisors and employees alike.
They provide important information on the minimum wage, worker safety, medical leave and child labor laws.
Under both federal and state law, these posters must be updated each time there is a change in legislation.
A change in the federal minimum wage on July 24, 2007 required that the Federal Minimum Wage posters be updated. On that date, the federal minimum wage increased for the first time in more than a decade. The rate went from $5.15 per hour to $5.85 per hour, an increase of 70 cents.
The minimum wage for tipped employees varies broadly from one state to the next. So do the overtime laws. These are just some of the items that are covered on each state’s respective labor law posters. Here are a few outstanding examples.
Minimum wage laws for tipped workers like servers often simply follow the federal rate of $2.13 an hour. The idea is that employers need not pay the usual minimum wage because the workers are making up the difference in tips. This is the “tip credit” for employers.
Kentucky, Indiana, Nebraska, and other states follow the federal rate.
Some states offer just a little more than the federal rate:
- North Carolina, $2.43
- Wisconsin, $2.33
- Massachusetts, $2.63
- Michigan, $2.65
The minimum wage for tipped employees in Kansas is only $1.59.
At the opposite extreme, some states offer little or no tip credit. In these states, employees are paid the same minimum wage, or nearly the same minimum wage, as other workers. They include:
- Washington, none ($8.07 per hour wage starting January 1)
- Colorado, wage for tipped workers $8.07 per hour in 2008
- Hawaii, 25-cent tip credit, wage $7 per hour compared to usual $7.25
Federal overtime laws require an overtime premium of 1.5 times the normal hourly rate for every hour over 40. Some states rely on federal law – Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, and Arizona among them. The federal overtime law covers most, but not all, workers.
Nebraska extends both the federal minimum wage and overtime laws to all businesses with 4 or more workers. Kansas requires overtime after a 46-hour week and Minnesota after a 48-hour week.
California offers overtime after working 8 hours in a single day or 40 hours in a week. Employees who must work 7 days consecutively get overtime on the 7th day, and those working 12 or more hours in a day receive “double time.” Double-time is also offered after 8 hours on the 7th consecutive working day.
In Kentucky, workers get overtime either after 40 hours, or on the 7th consecutive day of work regardless of the number of hours they have put in. Colorado workers get overtime after 12 hours a day or 40 hours in a week. In Connecticut, only restaurant and hotel workers get overtime on the 7th day.
Every employer in Hawaii should take a few minutes to update his or her 2008 Hawaii labor law posters.
The past year has brought myriad changes in labor law throughout the nation. And, more changes are on the way. California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and ten other states will be raising their state minimum wage as of January 1, 2008.
Many of these changes affect labor law posters, which is why it’s important to update the posters at least once per year.
The official list of required 2008 Hawaii labor law posters is:
Payment of Wages
Hawaii Minimum Wage
Hawaii Whistleblower Protection Poster
In addition to the state posters, federal law requires that every employer in the nation display a number of posters. These include:
USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
Federal Minimum Wage
Employee Polygraph Protection Act
Family and Medical Leave Act
OSHA-Job Safety & Health Protection
A number of these posters have been updated for 2008.
Many labor law poster changes throughout the nation related to minimum wage increases this year, or next year. West Virginia and Illinois will increase their minimum wages on July 1, 2008. Illinois’s current minimum will jump from $7.50 to $7.75, and West Virginia’s will go up from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.
On July 24, 2008, the new federal minimum wage of $6.55 will be introduced. States like Texas, Nebraska and others that tie their state minimum wage to the federal minimum wage will bump up their state minimum wage.
Several states including Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and others established laws that provide an annual cost-of-living increase for the state minimum wage. States often tie this increase to the Consumer Price Index for urban and clerical workers. Florida just recently passed such a law and will apply their first “cost of living” raise on January 1, 2008, bumping their current wage from $6.65 to $6.79 per hour.
The rank of highest state minimum wage goes to Washington at $8.07 as of January 1, 2008. California and Massachusetts aren’t far behind each with $8.00 per hour. Oregon’s wage ranks in the top five with $7.95 per hour.
There’s not much difference among the state minimum wages in the top five, but the difference across the country is amazing. The state minimum wage in Kansas hasn’t budged since the 1980s, and ranks as the lowest at $2.65.
But Kansas isn’t the real bottom of the range. That honor belongs to Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and South Carolina, which don’t have a state minimum wage at all. That means an employer not covered by the federal minimum wage can pay–by law–its workers whatever it wants, even as low as 25 cents an hour. Of course, it’s doubtful anyone would take a job at that wage, but the legal capability exists.
One of the major changes during 2007 related to minimum wage. The federal minimum wage, as a result of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, went from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour. Nearly a dozen states increased their minimum wage on the same day.
Also, during the 2007, several other states, including Utah, Washington, Oregon, and West Virginia increased their state minimum wage.
The most common reason for employers to update posters includes statute changes, especially to minimum wage laws. In just the past few months, employers in New Hampshire, Nevada and Maine have updated their labor law posters as the state minimum wages changed. The most recent increase was on October 1, 2007 when the New Hampshire minimum wage increased to $6.50 per hour.
Oil refinery companies in the U.S. face tough inspections after a tragic refinery accident failed to get one oil company to change its safety policies.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans to inspect every oil refinery under its jurisdiction to insure that conditions are safe for workers.
Hawaii worker safety should benefit from changes in OSHA’s policies following the end of its investigation into a BP refinery accident that killed 15 workers and injured more than 100.
These new policies should dramatically increase worker safety at Hawaii’s two oil refineries.
The agency is in the process of hiring new refinery inspectors to keep up with the project. So far, according to Edwin G. Foulke Jr., OSHA’s Assistant Secretary for Labor, 160 people have been trained in the inspection process, called Process Safety Management, or PSM. By August of this year, he said, 280 PSM-trained inspectors should be on board. The goal is to inspect every refinery.
The deadly accident at the BP refinery was in the spring of 2005 outside Houston. The plant lost its processing capacity, taking 3% of the total U.S. refinery production out of business. Partly as a result, gas prices soared in the summer of 2006. The plant had hired 1,800 employees to process 433,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
Six months after that disaster, in which flames shot thousands of feet into the air and ash fell on the surrounding region, OSHA inspected another BP plant – this one in Ohio. It found conditions there exactly like those that caused the catastrophe near Houston. BP had not learned its lessons and had not fixed the problem, the U.S. Department of Labor determined. As a result, OSHA decided oil companies had no intention of protecting their workers. The agency began the tough inspections.
OSHA and its state affiliates conducted more than 100 inspections at U.S. refineries, and in 2007 have inspected 50 more plants so far.
Employers need to make certain their Hawaii USERRA poster is current. The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, also known as VETS, has recently revised rules under USERRA. USERRA stands for the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which was adopted in 1994. These new changes to USERRA impact workers in Hawaii.
When there is a national emergency, many Americans serve in the military, especially in the Reserve or the National Guard. USERRA makes certain these Americans don’t lose their jobs in the civilian world while serving their country. Although USERRA covers all veterans, many think of it as the “National Guard Law.” In one recent change, federal government employees can now file claims with the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, which is part of the US Department of Labor.
Heath insurance coverage, both for the service member and his or her family, is another area covered by the recent changes to the USERRA regulations. If a worker has been on duty with the military for over 30 days, he or she is qualified for health care through the military. The family of the service member is also included in this coverage.
Many employers have questions about how long the civilian jobs of service members protected.
The way the recent USERRA regulations work is the civilian jobs of veterans, along with members of the Navy, Army, or Air Force Reserve, are protected while these soldiers are serving in the military. For a cumulative period of up to 5 years, the jobs for these service members are protected.
The USERRA also makes special provisions for disabled veterans. The employers of these veterans should make accommodations, within reason, for these employees. In addition, if soldiers are injured, even if the injury occurs in training, they have two additional years to return to their civilian jobs. This is over and above the cumulative 5-year limit.
Those orange traffic cones and construction zone signs you see along the highway aren’t nuisances. They’re a way of alerting you to the fact that there are workers on the roadside. As cars shoot by them, they’re vulnerable. They can be hit by a car, and be injured or killed.
More than 100 workers die and another 20,000 are injured every year in highway and street construction. While some of those deaths are caused within the site, others are as a result of being struck by passing cars and trucks.
The figures are from combined national and Hawaii highway worker safety statistics. An official with OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – calls highway construction zone work “one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.” The Roadway Zone Safety and Health Partners Alliance have joined with OSHA in stressing awareness of the dangers around highway work zones.
Edwin G. Foulke Jr., the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said the campaign needs “the support of everyone who gets behind the wheel on a daily basis.” He noted that last year, 1,100 deaths occurred as a result of work zone accidents. He called it “a tragedy.”
The first week of every April is National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year’s campaign focuses on highway work zone employees. The week was inaugurated in a ceremony April 3 on Interstate 495 near Alexandria, Virginia, at a highway construction site.
“I am hopeful campaigns like this will help reduce those numbers,” said Assistant Secretary Foulke.
OSHA and other safety agencies are urging highway construction crew members to wear visible reflective vests. They’re also urging drivers to be alert to construction zone signs, and to slow down.
Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Centers for Disease Control, said that “highway and street construction is hard and potentially hazardous work.”
“Acute trauma” is the leading cause of death for highway workers in the United States. It occurs when a worker is hit by a car.