Hawai‘i Recovers $14,360 in Back Wages, Penalties for 2 Employees

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The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced that it recovered $14,360.12 in back wages and penalties on a wage complaint made by two surf instructors hired by a Maui business that offers a variety of ocean-related recreational activities.

“The Legislature created a new administrative process for wage law along with a new, minimum $500 penalty to act as a deterrent,” said DLIR Acting Director Leonard Hoshijo. “By adding more teeth to the enforcement of wage laws, the Legislature is helping us ensure that workers are paid fairly for the work they perform.”

The department collected $13,360.12, which included twice the amount of unpaid wages and interest due to the surf instructors, plus a penalty of $1,000 to the state general fund. The change in the law provided an efficient process to implement existing penalties payable to employees, recover unpaid wages, and impose an administrative penalty paid to the state.

The Payment of Wages and Other Compensation Law, Chapter 388, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, applies to all private businesses with employees working in Hawai‘i.


Employers should review their payment processes if they want to avoid paying these penalties. Some common problems that occur are: failure to notify employees at the time of hiring of the rate of pay, the time and place of payment; failing to notify employees in writing of any changes to payment agreements; failure to pay employees at least twice a month; failure to pay employees within seven days after the end of the pay period; and failure to pay an employee their full wages due at the time when the employee is terminated. All of these common violations were cited in this Maui case.

For more information about payment of wages in Hawai‘i, go to the Wage Standards Division website at  or call (808) 586-8777.


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