Subcontractor on UH-Hilo project sanctioned, fined

Hawaii Tribune Herald
Published November 1, 2016 – 12:05am

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said Monday it has assessed Tradewind Plastering and Drywall Inc. a total of $143,000 for violating wage laws on the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Hawaiian Language Building construction project.

According to a written statement, $130,367 is for wages owed to construction workers with $13,037 added for penalties. Tradewind Plastering and Drywall was a subcontractor of Jacobsen Construction Co. on the UH-Hilo project.

The most costly of the violations was underpaying construction workers by misclassifying them as apprentices, and paying lower apprentice wages, with no registered apprenticeship in evidence. This was in violation of Hawaii’s prevailing wage law covering public works construction.

(Read More)

State fines Texas-based construction company $767K for misclassifying workers

Sep 20, 2016, 7:29am HST
Duane Shimogawa

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has fined Texas-based R&R Construction Services $767,095 for the misclassification of its workers as independent contractors that are part of the Maile Sky Court hotel-condominium redevelopment project in Waikiki.

The state said Monday that R&R has 20 days to appeal the citations.

“Law-abiding contractors who pay their fair share face unfair competition, and workers suffer when deprived of their rights and benefits,” Linda Chu Takayama, director of DLIR, said in a statement. “The visitor industry and a pleasant visitor experience is important to Hawaii, but Hawaii’s working people and law-abiding contractors need to benefit fairly.”

R&R allegedly misclassified 65 construction workers as independent contractors and, by doing so, it avoided requirements to provide unemployment, workers compensation, temporary disability and prepaid health care insurances, according to the state.

(Read More)

New laws toughen up penalties for labor law violations

Published Thursday, July 7th 2016

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
Hawaii employers who fail to comply with state labor laws will face stricter penalties, under new measures signed into law July 1.

Gov. David Ige signed the laws, increasing the penalties violations of requirements for workers’ compensation insurance, temporary disability insurance and for breaking prevailing wage laws on public construction projects.

In Nov. 2015, an investigation by the Labor Department found dozens of contractors and subcontractors working at the Ala Moana Center’s new Ewa wing violated labor laws by not necessary taxes.

Furthermore, the department found a number of construction firms also failed to pay pre-paid health insurance and temporary disability insurance for their workers.

(Read More)

US Department of Labor signs agreement with Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to protect workers from misclassification

WHD News Brief: 9/04/2015
Release Number: 15-1761-SAN


Participants: U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Partnership description: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding intended to protect employees’ rights by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses. The two agencies will provide clear, accurate, and easy-to-access outreach to employers, employees, and other stakeholders, share resources, and enhance enforcement by conducting joint investigations and sharing information consistent with applicable law.

Quotes: “The Wage and Hour Division continues to attack this problem head on through a combination of a robust education and outreach campaign, and nationwide, data-driven strategic enforcement across industries,” said David Weil, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. “Our goal is always to strive toward workplaces with decreased misclassification, increased compliance, and more workers receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” – David Weil, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Administrator

(Read More)

Honolulu subcontractor pays more than $305K in back wages, damages to 65 workers after US Labor Department investigation

U.S. Department of Labor          February 9, 2015

Wage and Hour Division            Release Number: 14-2339-SAN (SF-9)

HONOLULU — M.H. Electric has paid $290,588 in back wages to 65 workers after the U.S. Department of Labor determined that the Honolulu-based subcontractor violated federal wage and hour laws at 10 federally funded construction projects awarded in Hawaii between 2012 and 2014 by the Hawaii Air National Guard and the U.S. Departments of the Navy, Army and Veterans Affairs. In resolving the department’s allegations, the company also paid an additional $14,507 in back wages and damages for overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division found M.H. Electric violated the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. The company failed to pay its employees for their overtime hours in a timely manner. Instead, the employer systematically “banked” those overtime hours at straight-time wage rates for future use as vacation or sick time, or to be used when employees worked less than 40 hours. That violated the overtime standards of both the CWHSSA and the FLSA, which require that an employer pay time and one-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

“Federal contractors owe it to taxpayers to comply with all applicable laws, including paying their workers fairly and fully,” said Terence Trotter, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Honolulu. “In this case, we appreciate the cooperation shown by M.H. Electric to help resolve the matter expeditiously and to commit to future compliance with applicable labor standards.”

(Read More)

Hawaii Raises Minimum Wage to $10.10 Per Hour

HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii has raised its minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, putting the state among the first to meet President Obama’s goal of increasing the minimum wage nationwide.

 Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the minimum wage bill into law in a ceremony Friday, marking the first time Hawaii’s minimum wage will be raised from $7.25 since 2007.The increase will be phased in gradually over four years. Abercrombie said he wished the hike was coming quicker, but “we’re swimming in the water that we’re in.”

“I always thought it’s not a minimum wage, it’s a survival wage,” Abercrombie said. “And in today’s world, that minimum wage is not a survival wage, certainly in Hawaii.”

Hawaii is the third state this year to increase its minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, following Connecticut and Maryland, said Jack Temple, policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project.

(Read More)