Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: H.B. No. 1701

H.D. 1

S.D. 2




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2020

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred H.B. No. 1701, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


(1) Amend the list of protected classes under Hawaii's equal pay statute to make the protections afforded by that section consistent with the state statute that prohibits employment discrimination;


(2) Clarify the factors that can be used by employers to justify differences in compensation based on seniority, merit, or other non-discriminatory purposes;


(3) Provide pay transparency by requiring employers to make salary range information available to employees and job candidates, which will help employers manage their pay expenses and encourage pay equity; and


(4) Update the term "equal work" as used in state non-discrimination statutes, to "substantially similar work", which is the more accurate term used in many other states.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Hawaiian Affairs Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Common Cause Hawaii, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, Americans for Democratic Action, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Hawaii Women's Coalition, Pride at Work Hawaii, American Association of University Women of Hawaii, Hawaii Children's Action Network Speaks!, and nine individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from Island Plastic Bags, Inc.; Maui Chamber of Commerce; and Retail Merchants of Hawaii. Your Committee received comments on this measure from Hawaii Pacific Health, Hawaii Food Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, and The Queen's Health Systems.


Your Committee finds that in 2018, median annual earnings for women in Hawaii were just eighty-three percent of men's earnings, representing a seventeen percent pay gap. Furthermore, native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women earn only sixty-two percent of white male earnings nationally. Your Committee believes that Hawaii should be a leader in the area of pay equity and ensure that state law is more protective of pay equity rights than the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This measure is a significant step toward ensuring that workers of any gender are paid equally for work that is substantially equal with respect to the skill, effort, and responsibility required to perform the work and the conditions under which the work is performed.


Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Making it effective upon its approval; and


(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1701, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1701, H.D. 1, S.D. 2.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,