Minimum wage raise pushed back to 2023


Ruimin Lin, Staff Writer

Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living compared to the other states. According to Hawaii News Now, an individual must make an hourly wage of about $18.63 to afford basic necessities like housing, food and transportation. However, Hawaii’s minimum wage of $10.10 has been the same for the past four years, not enough to maintain a comfortable life. 

Senate Bill 2018 proposes a series of wage increases that would almost double the current minimum wage of civilian employees to $18 in 2026. It is proposed that minimum wage will increase to $12 in October 2022, $15 in 2024, and $18 in 2026. The $3 increments are meant to help businesses adapt to the increase in labor costs. 

Unfortunately, as of March 8, 2022, the bill was amended to push back the dates on which the minimum wage would increase. The amendments stated that the minimum wage would increase to $11.00 per hour in 2023, $12.00 per hour in 2024, $13.00 per hour in 2025, $16.00 per hour in 2028, $17.00 per hour in 2029 and $18.00 an hour in 2030.

“Although it would benefit a lot of the workers, especially because we don’t get paid enough for the amount we do, I don’t think it’ll be good for the economy itself,” senior Jaylen Hew, who works in retail, said. She makes just a little over the minimum wage.

The fear is that raising the minimum wage will make the cost to hire workers more expensive, and businesses will transfer the cost onto consumers. 

“[The $18 minimum in 2026] is a lot, and that sounds good, but at the same time, I wonder how prices will rise for everything,” Hew said.

An increase in wages can be already seen in certain federal agencies. At the end of January 2022, the Biden Administration enforced a $15 minimum wage for federal civilian employees. According to CNN, about 67,000 employees across 2.2 million of the federal civilian workforce were affected. 

Moanalua High School senior Aris Carlos, who interns for the federal government and is impacted by the increased minimum wage, feels the benefits of an increased salary. 

“Making more money for what I do and like taking time out of high school to go work, it’s a really rewarding hourly pay,” Carlos said. 

Carlos noted, however, that the pay increase has also led to a similar increase in the cost of the food at the cafeteria where he works. 

“For a chicken sandwich, it was like six dollars [and] now, it’s $7.30,” he said.

Despite the possible economic downturns of raising the minimum wage, many of Moanalua’s upperclassmen are excited to see an increase in their paychecks. 

“I feel good! I feel good getting more money, yeah!” Hew said. 


Click here for information on Senate Bill 2018