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Hawaii’s HGEA members accept state’s hazard pay offer; over 16,000 workers eligible

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Hawaii’s HGEA members accept state’s hazard pay offer; over 16,000 workers eligible

HONOLULU – Thousands of Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) members who risked their health and safety throughout the two-year COVID-19 pandemic will get compensated by the state.


More than 16,000 state employees are eligible for consideration for temporary hazard pay for the severe hazards they faced as they kept Hawaii’s state government running during the pandemic.


In April, Gov. Josh Green offered HGEA a settlement for employees organized into Units 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 13 and 14 who work at the state’s executive branch, the University of Hawaii, public charter schools, the Hawaii judiciary, and the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. A majority of members in all affected jurisdictions voted to accept the offer that same month.


Shortly after the settlement was accepted, the Hawaii Legislature approved nearly $450 million to fund hazard pay for unionized workers. This is the largest temporary hazard pay award to date secured by HGEA.


“Our members heroically showed up to work throughout the pandemic putting their own health — as well as that of their loved ones — at substantial risk to keep services running for the public,” said HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira. “From caring for patients in our state hospitals to processing a deluge of unemployment claims, HGEA members went above and beyond, exposing themselves to the virus, all in the name of service to the public.”


The settlement is split into two compensation tiers — $10,000 and $20,000. The compensation that members receive will depend on the number of days they reported to a physical worksite from March 4, 2020, to March 25, 2022.


The settlement comes on the heels of a string of victories for hazard pay throughout Hawaii. Earlier this year, HGEA received its second biggest temporary hazard pay award by winning its long-standing arbitration on behalf of 7,800 employees against the state Department of Education.


In October 2023, an arbitrator in HGEA’s case against Kauai County conceded that members in that jurisdiction faced a hazard. In October 2022, HGEA prevailed against Maui County in its dispute for temporary hazard pay for more than 1,300 workers. Members in that case have already been paid out by the county.


Most recently, an arbitrator ruled in HGEA’s favor in a case for hazard pay in Hawaii County. A pending follow-up case will determine eligibility.

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