We work hard to support our families. We deserve a Hawaiʻi that works for us.
Paid Sick Days
In Hawaiʻi, over 180,000 private sector workers do not have access to paid sick days. Most of them are lower-income service sector workers such as restaurant or retail workers that often work paycheck-to-paycheck and struggle to make ends meet.
What we are seeking is to establish a minimum of 7 accrued paid sick days a year so workers can have the financial security to stay at home, recover and help slow the spread of illnesses such as the flu or Covid. Unfortunately, many workers who do not have paid sick days often attend work sick because they cannot afford to take an unpaid day off. This means co-workers and the public are potentially exposed to illnesses such as Covid which could be detrimental to their health.
Ultimately, paid sick days are an essential policy that protects the health and well-being of workers and the public - especially during an era of uncertainty surrounding our most recent Covid pandemic.
Paid Family Leave
Paid family leave allows workers to take time off and still receive part of their income when they need to care for their own serious health needs or those of a loved one or to bond with a new child.
The United States is the only developed country without national paid family leave, and as a result only one in four private sector employees have access to paid family leave. To fill that gap, thirteen states plus the District of Columbia have passed paid family leave laws.
Hawaiʻi should join those states to make sure that our families and businesses are never scrambling for piecemeal solutions when illness strikes, a serious caregiving need arises, or a new child arrives.
Most paid family leave programs are run as social insurance, like Social Security or Medicare. Payroll deductions go into a state fund, and workers apply for paid family leave when they need it. The costs for paid family leave are relatively small since most workers rarely need to take such leaves.
A state system helps small businesses compete for the best employees since currently, only large corporate and institutional employers can afford to provide paid family leave on their own. And paid family leave in Hawaiʻi would help our state compete for the best workers against other states that already provide it, including California, Washington, and Oregon.
Increasing Conveyance Tax
Bills that didn't pass: SB678 / SB362
Issue: State needs more permanent sources of funding for affordable housing, land conservation, and homeless services.
Policy Solution: Increase the conveyance tax rate to be more alighted with other high-cost areas. A rate of 0.5% on homes below $2M; and a rate of 1-6% for homes above $2M. Remove deposit caps for Rental Housing Revolving Fund and Legacy Land Conservation Fund. Dedicate 10% of the conveyance tax to houseless services.
Extending Rent Relief/Landlord Tenant Mediation
Bills that didn't pass: HB1439
Issue: Rent relief and landlord-tenant mediation programs have been successful in keeping renters housed; however, the programs are experiencing due to waning federal funding.
Policy Solution: Extend the Statewide Rent Relief and Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program for at least one additional year (i.e., a “bridge” program).
Rent Reporting to Improve Tenants' Credit Score
Issue: Many renters lack opportunities to establish or improve their credit, making it difficult to build wealth or purchase property. Rent is the largest recurring monthly expense that many households pay, however most credit reports do not recognize rent.
Policy Solution: Develop a Rent Reporting Credit Building Program that allows tenants’ to establish and build credit.
Issue: Tenants often lack knowledge about their rights regarding changes to leases, evictions, etc.
Policy Solutions: Establish legislation that compiles existing and new renter protections into one bill which includes:
-Just Cause Eviction
-Hawaiʻi Rental Board
Beyond LIHTC: Funds for 0-30%AMI & 60-120%AMI
Issue: Maxing out federal funding for low-income housing (LIHTC), which can only provide 800 additional homes a year. Hawaiʻi needs more than 800 affordable housing units especially in the very-low (0-30% AMI) and middle (60-120% AMI) because those are not funded by LIHTC.
Policy Solution: Expand funding for affordable rentals and price-restricted or limited equity home ownership options via an additional $200-$300M for each fund.