STAND. COM. REP. NO.2798
RE: S.B. No. 2438
Honorable Robert Bunda
President of the Senate
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred S.B. No. 2438, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HAWAII VICTIMS' ECONOMIC SECURITY AND SAFETY ACT,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to prohibit employer discrimination against actual or perceived victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence while recognizing legitimate employer interests related to the safety of all persons in the workplace.
More specifically this measure:
(1) Enables a victim of domestic or sexual violence to take paid or unpaid leave, seek medical treatment, obtain abuse-related services, counseling, relocate, or take legal action;
(2) Upholds the provisions of collective bargaining agreements or employment agreements that contain equal or better benefits or rights regarding protection from domestic or sexual abuse;
(3) Prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual abuse;
(4) Enables a victim of domestic or sexual abuse to obtain unemployment insurance benefits if the victim suffers a loss of employment status as a consequence of the abuse;
(5) Provides training for unemployment insurance claims reviewers and hearings officers to understand and recognize symptoms and patterns of domestic or sexual abuse; and
(6) Establishes a nonrefundable workplace safety tax credit of up to forty per cent of the costs associated with domestic and sexual violence safety and education training as an incentive for employers to help prevent domestic and sexual abuse.
Your Committee finds that violent crimes against victims, typically women, robs them not only of their health and physical well-being, but places them at risk of emotional trauma, financial risks, and other kinds of harm due to victimization. These women may be injured to the point of not being able to work; many live in fear of being found and physically assaulted again; others might be harassed at work even if they are able to work; some live in fear of harm coming to their children. Employers could find their workforce and innocent bystanders being placed at risk because of the violent behavior of a woman's partner. This may in turn affect the employer's medical, liability and workers' compensation insurance premiums, work productivity, and employee morale. The implications of domestic violence are therefore more widespread than for only the affected persons and their partners.
Your Committee finds that this measure will give victims of domestic and sexual violence time to seek professional medical, counseling, legal, and other help while providing protection against employment discrimination. This bill will allow victims to obtain unemployment insurance benefits to make up for a lost job and give employers a workplace safety tax credit as an incentive to assist those victims.
Your Committee has amended this bill by changing the nonrefundable workplace safety tax credit of up to forty per cent of costs to a blank percentage to allow for further discussion and by making technical nonsubstantive amendments on page 9.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2438, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2438, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
BRIAN T. TANIGUCHI, Chair