Honolulu, Hawaii

                , 2009


RE:   H.B. No. 332

      H.D. 1





Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say

Speaker, House of Representatives

Twenty-Fifth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2009

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Labor & Public Employment, to which was referred H.B. No. 332 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose of this bill is to reduce the economic effects of domestic or sexual violence to employers and employees by providing unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who are separated from their employment as a result of domestic or sexual violence.


     The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Domestic Violence Action Center testified in support of this bill.  The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) supported the intent of this measure.


     Victims of domestic violence are often at greater risk of losing their employment.  Oftentimes, domestic abusers, as a means of maintaining control over their victim, target their victim's places of employment and their ability to remain financially self-sufficient.  By allowing victims of domestic or sexual violence to be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are forced to leave their jobs due to the effects of their victimization, they will retain the means to be financially secure.  Your Committee finds that this will strengthen the safety and security of victims of domestic or sexual violence.


     While your Committee understands the concerns raised by DLIR regarding possible conflicts with federal law and the noncharging of benefits paid in discharge of individuals who are victims of domestic or sexual violence, the importance of this matter warrants further discussion.  Your Committee notes the willingness of DLIR to work with the Committee in addressing these concerns as the bill moves forward in the legislative process.


     Your Committee has amended this bill by:


     (1)  Providing a 30-day grace period from the date of the individual's loss of employment before an individual must actively seek employment; and


     (2)  Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for clarity, consistency, and style.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Labor & Public Employment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 332, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 332, H.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Human Services.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Labor & Public Employment,