The first bill to raise the minimum wage in Hawaii made it through its first hearing with lawmakers Thursday.

The bill calls for an increase from the current minimum of $10.10 per hour.

It would also increase minimum wage to $11 by next year and go up incrementally to $15 per hour by 2024.

The bill also gives employers an option to avoid paying the increases, if they participate in benefits under the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act. 

"I think we heard a lot of the same arguments and that's deliberately why I tried to craft a bill that was meant to reconcile the high cost of living that workers are having to face but also the high cost of business that employers are having to face. Trying to give them a choice so in the end everybody is better off," Rep. Aaron Johanson said. 

If this bill becomes law, companies who choose to pay for health benefits would only be on the hook to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour in 2024.