Knowledge — 1 year ago

Hawaii Labor Laws and Employee Rights in Hawaii

by Keren P.

Hawaii Labor Law, Hawaii Labor Laws

What are Hawaii Labor Laws? 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal act, which sets the threshold for the minimum wage to be paid employees across the United States. It also specifies the remuneration rate for overtime and weekend employment among other standards. Each state can legislate their payment and hour laws as long as the rules are higher than those established by the federal standard.

Hawaii Labor Laws: Minimum wage
Hawaii’s minimum wage rate is $10.10 per hour, which is considerably higher than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees who earn a minimum of $7.00 in tips per hour, can have $0.75 of their tip included in their minimum wage calculation. So these employees in effective earn a minimum hourly rate of $9.35 and a total hourly rate of $17.10, including the tips. Employees who do not make a minimum of $16.25 per hour, cannot have their tip payments included as part of their minimum wage rate of $10.10 per hour. For more information on tipped employees, go to -

Employee Rights: Employees with disabilities
Hawaii is one of the few states that offers short-term disability insurance for employees who are temporarily unable to work for a variety of reasons. Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations provides special certificates that permit employers to pay employees who are temporarily unable to work part of their wages while they are out. These wages are typically lower than the standard minimum rate. For disabled employees, the document will specify the amount of time for which they will receive the subminimum wage.
Hawaii’s temporary disability insurance or TDI is also called short-term disability insurance, or SDI. Employees can take leave for pregnancy or any other illness or injury that is not work-related.

To be eligible for this coverage, an employee must have worked at least 14 weeks in the past year for an employer in Hawaii. The weeks do not have to be consecutive and can have been worked with different employers. During each of these weeks, the employee must have worked at least 20 hours and must have been paid at least $400.

Labor Laws Hawaii: Maternity and Pregnancy Leave
Hawaii employee rights allow a reasonable amount of time off when a female employee cannot work due to pregnancy and childbirth. These laws are designed to prohibit pregnancy discrimination, however, employers are only expected to provide a portion of the employee's wages during these times. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not require employers to give pregnant employees time off work, but it requires employers to treat pregnant employees the exact same way it treats other employees who are temporarily disabled. Hawaii’s Administrative Code on the other hand, requires all employers, regardless of the company size, to allow employees to take leave when they are temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. A pregnant employee is entitled to take a “reasonable” period of time off, as determined by her physician.

The Family Medical Leave Act gives new parents the right to take up to 12 weeks off for parental leave, if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and for at least 1,250 hours during the past year.

Employee Rights: Student Learners 
A student-learner is a student who is receiving instruction in a public high school or licensed private high school and who is employed on a part-time basis pursuant to a vocational training program, authorized and approved by the department of education or by the principal of the school. These employees should not be paid wages lower than the standard minimum threshold.

Hawaii Labor Law

Employee Rights: Apprentices and Trainees
Minimum wage payments for trainees and apprentices should be in line with the FLSA unless other federal or state laws specify they should be paid more.

For a list of federal minimum wage exemptions visit -

Labor Laws Hawaii: Overtime
Employees are authorized to receive 1.5 times their regular wage for any hours worked over 40 hours per workweek. A workweek is defined as a period of 40 hours in a recurring cycle of 168 hours, irrespective of when the cycle commences.

For a list of federal overtime exemptions that may apply, go to -

Labor Laws Hawaii: Meals and Breaks 
Employees, who are in the age group of 14 and 15 years, must have a minimum 30-minute break for every five continuous hours they work. For employees 16 years and over, there aren’t any applicable Hawaii laws, so the default federal laws apply. Provision of breaks is not compulsory, but if employers choose to provide these breaks, they must pay for shorter breaks of 20 minutes or less. Employees do not have to be paid for longer breaks of 30 minutes and more.


Labor Laws Hawaii: Vacation leave
Employers do not have to provide employees with paid or unpaid vacation benefits. Accrued vacation leave payments for employee separation and termination can be denied if it is part of company policy or part of the employee’s contractual agreement. Employees may also be disqualified if they fail to meet specific criteria like handing inadequate notice period or being employed up to a specified date.

In the absence of any contractual agreement and policy, the employer is not required to make these accrued payments. However, where it is company policy or the employee’s contract specifies, the employer is bound to make such payments. Employers can also adopt a “use-it-or-lose-it” mantra where the employee forfeits any leave not taken before a specified date. Also, employers can set a limit for maximum accrued leave.

Hawaii Labor Laws

Labor Laws Hawaii: Sick leave
Employees are not entitled to receive paid or unpaid sick leave benefits. Employers who do permit sick leave, have to provide written terms of the policy. Under Hawaii’s Family Leave Law ( and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (, employees may be provided with sick leave rights.

Labor Laws Hawaii: Holiday leave
Hawaii does not have any laws governing holiday leave, paid or unpaid. Private employers can make their employees work on holidays and must pay them 1.5 times their standard wage for any overtime work if they qualify. Employers who choose to permit holiday leave should have included it in established company policy or as part of an employee’s contract terms.

For information on State, holidays leave, Jury duty leave, voting leave, and bereavement leave go to -

For more details on wage, hour and payment laws in Hawaii, visit -


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