The new year will bring three big changes to Hawaii’s pay equity efforts effective January 1, 2024. The first two equal pay expansions are applicable to employers of all sizes, while the pay posting requirement only affects employers with 50 or more employees.
Equal Pay: Not Just for Men and Women Anymore
Equal pay will be required across all protected categories covered by Hawaii’s employment discrimination statute, not just between the sexes. These categories include race, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions as well as gender identity or expression), sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, marital status, arrest and court records, reproductive health decisions, or domestic or sexual violence victim status.
The acceptable reasons for a pay differential remain the same: a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, a bona fide occupational qualification, or a permissible factor other than the protected classes. Additionally, Hawaii’s law only requires equal pay for employees in the same establishment, so location would be an acceptable reason for a difference in pay.
Equal Pay: A Lower Standard for Comparison—Equal Work Is Not Required
Instead of requiring that employees or groups of employees be paid the same if they do “equal” work, the standard for equal pay will now be “substantially similar” work. This opens the door to significantly more comparisons (and potential claims), even across departments or job types.
Hourly Rate or Salary Range Required in Job Postings
Employers with 50 or more employees will need to include the hourly rate or salary range in job postings that reflects the actual expected pay for the job. The disclosure is not required for positions that are internal transfers or promotions with a current employer.