HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced an outreach and regulatory action at Ala Moana Center. Personnel from the Department of Taxation (DoTAX) conducted educational outreach to inform contractors of their responsibilities, and offer assistance should there be any questions about tax laws. Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs’ Regulated Industry Complaints Office (RICO) investigators were also present, checking to ensure contractors and subcontractors working on projects were properly licensed, and projects were appropriately supervised.
“While the new shops at Ala Moana may have glamor appeal, let’s not overlook Hawaii’s workers and contractors who build them,” said Linda Chu Takayama, DLIR Director. “Working people and local contractors need to benefit fairly from the luxury development going on around us.”
The misclassifying of construction employees as independent contractors, or simply paying them in cash “off-the-books,” could affect Hawaii’s hard-working contractors, workers, and State funds. Misclassification and cash payments avoid payments for Unemployment Insurance, Workers Compensation, Temporary Disability Insurance and Prepaid Health Care. State and Federal taxes are often also not paid along with neglecting to obtain licenses to operate legally in Hawaii.
“Law-abiding contractors who pay their fair share face unfair competition and everyone pays more to make up for lost tax revenue, while employees suffer when their rights and benefits are reduced, for example, when they have no credited employment for benefits like unemployment insurance,” stated Director Chu Takayama.
While all three agencies actively seek to enforce the law, they also provide educational resources and consultation. In the construction industry, this may assist contractors in covering their legal obligations as they prepare future bids, including ones for State and County jobs. RICO makes educational resources available to contractors and their potential clients at http://cca.hawaii.gov/rico/licensedcontractor/.
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The Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) is a division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and is the enforcement arm of over forty-five professional boards, commissions and programs that are administratively attached to the department. RICO receives, investigates and prosecutes possible license violations, including unlicensed activity. RICO has offices in Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Wailuku and Lihue and its staff includes investigators, attorneys and clerical support.
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