Hawaii Labor Laws

March 14th 2024

This article covers:


What are Hawaii Time Management Laws?

 In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Hawaii Minimum Wage $14.00
Hawaii Overtime 1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($21.00 for minimum wage workers)
Hawaii Breaks 30-minute meal breaks for every 7.5 hours worked a day

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Hawaii?

 In Hawaii, hiring laws are in line with federal regulations – which can be found in the section below. The only difference is that employers cannot discriminate against individuals who are part of volunteer emergency responder teams or National Guard members who are currently absent. As per the federal regulations, follows:

  • Biological sex
  • Race and national origin
  • Age (applies to individuals between 40 and 70 years of age)
  • Pregnancy, child or spousal support withholding
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender and gender identity
  • Religion
  • AIDS/HIV status
  • Mental and Physical Disability

In Hawaii, the employment-at-will policy is in effect, which means that employees who are bound by a contract can be dismissed for any reason and at any time. However, it’s crucial to note that it’s legally inappropriate to terminate an employee based on discrimination or retaliation. Additionally, all final payments for employees who are terminated must be settled by their next payday according to the rule mandated by the Hawaii Department of Labor. For more information on hiring and termination procedures, please refer to the discrimination laws section.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Hawaii?

 Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Hawaii that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • OSHA Laws – Hawaii is one of the 26 jurisdictions authorized to create its own state safety and health program. In Hawaii, instead of following the federal OSHA, there are two programs under the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) – Occupational Safety and Health, and Boiler and Elevator Safety. While HIOSH is mostly aligned with federal regulations, it does come with certain adjustments. For instance, employees working in high-risk industries require certificates of fitness for designated roles. HIOSH also conducts more frequent workplace inspections for these industries. To promote safety, HIOSH offers on-site consultations free of charge to identify workplace risks and assessments.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – The Hawaii State Legislature has put laws in place to protect employees from retaliation by their employers. Employers are not allowed to fire, threaten, discriminate against, or reduce the wages of employees who are about to report a violation, verbally or in writing, to the employer’s supervisor or public body. However, if the employee knows or believes that the report is false, this protection does not apply. Additionally, employees who are expected to participate in an investigation or hearing held by a public body regarding a violation in the workplace are also protected from retaliation by their employer.
  • Background Check Laws – Hawaii is one of 14 US states that applies the Ban-the-Box legislation to private businesses. This law prevents employers from asking about criminal history until after the job offer has been made, except in cases where the criminal record is relevant to the position. It is important for employers to remember that criminal background checks are subject to anti-discrimination laws and cannot be used to unfairly disadvantage candidates. If using third-party software for background checks, employers should ensure compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Additionally, in Hawaii, only recent felony and misdemeanor convictions can be considered in the hiring process.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws – Employers in Hawaii have the freedom to initiate drug and alcohol tests as per their discretion. However, the regulations mandating this practice are few in number. Testing may only be carried out through blood and urine collection and employers can use the services of either Hawaii Department of Health laboratories or those approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. The tests can include recreational and medical marijuana tests, drugs and alcohol, and 11-panel screening that checks for 11 different substances including cocaine, opiates, and alcohol.
  • Employer Use of Social Media Regulations – In Hawaii, the Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits employers from asking employees to disclose their personal account login information or personal social media account contents unless voluntarily shared. Employers are also not allowed to alter login information or account settings to access the account or try to gain access by observing employees logging in. However, accessing publicly available information and implementing policies on device usage for business purposes are allowed. Employers can also ask employees to share specific content related to legal proceedings or investigating safety threats such as harassment, workplace violence, or threats to employer property or technology.
  • COBRA Laws – In Hawaii, companies with 20 or more employees are required to follow the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). However, the state also has an additional program called H-Cobra which helps individuals with HIV to convert to an individual HIPAA plan when they are unable to obtain group coverage. Furthermore, the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act provides employees with coverage for non-work-related illnesses or injuries. Not all employees are eligible for this program, the people who are not eligible are those who work less than 20 hours per week, federal, state, and county workers, seasonal agricultural workers, commission-based salespersons in insurance or real estate, domestic workers, and employees under 21 working for their parents.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Please check the table below regarding the documents that must be kept by employers in Hawaii:
Retention Period Types of Records
1 Year – Employment records: employee’s full name, social security number, dates of hiring and termination, reasons for separation, remuneration details (quarterly and per pay period), special payments, and place of employment. Copies of I-9 forms.
2 Years – Basic employment and earning records: wages, timecards or timesheets, billing records, and bonuses or deductions from employee pay.
3 Years – Payroll records, agreements, bargaining agreements, sales, and purchase records.
Exceeding 4 Years – Job-related injury records: kept for 5 years.
– Annual reports for benefit plans: kept for 6 years.
– Records of toxic substance exposure: kept for 30 years.

Hawaii Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Hawaii?

The minimum wage in Hawaii for adults is currently $14.00 per hour, while employed minors earn $11.90 per hour. Tipped employees must earn a minimum of $12.75 per hour if they regularly earn more than $20 a month in tips and any tips earned cannot be taken by the employer unless required by law. New employees under the age of 20 can be paid a subminimum wage of $4.25 for the first 90 days of their employment. Full-time high school or college student workers are entitled to a minimum wage of $11.90 per hour, which must be no less than 85% of the regular minimum wage for up to 20 hours of work per week.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Hawaii?

 Workers in certain industries are exempt from the minimum wage requirement:

  • Agriculture
  • United States Government
  • Executive and administrative
  • Computer systems analysts, programmers, software engineers, etc.
  • Domestic service
  • Child welfare homes and shelters
  • Ship or vessel work
  • Seasonal youth camp staff sponsored by nonprofit organizations
  • Outside commission paid sales
  • Fishing, fish processing, propagation, harvesting, and cultivating

What is the Payment Due Date in Hawaii?

 According to the Hawaii Office of Labor Law, employers must pay their workers on set dates, at least twice per month, and it is recommended that the paydays do not change but are instead set in advance by the employer.

What are Hawaii Overtime Laws?

Hawaii regulates overtime based on the Fair Labor Standards Act. Essentially, any hours worked above 40 per week fall into the category of overtime. As a result of this categorization, employers must pay a wage rate that is 1.5 times higher than their employees’ normal rate for any overtime work performed. Additionally, employers should keep in mind that the threshold for overtime does not include hours worked beyond 8 hours per day, but instead tallies the total hours worked in excess over a 40-hour work week.

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Hawaii?

 In Hawaii, there are some type of workers that are exempt from overtime pay, such as:

  • Certain workers in the agricultural, livestock/poultry, dairy, sugar cane, and horticultural industries
  • Employees making a minimum of $2,000 per month
  • Certain occupations, such as full-time management of two or more employees, business operations, administrative training, advanced education positions (like artists and IT professionals), and outside salespeople.

Learn more in detail about Hawaii Salaried Employees Laws and Hawaii Overtime Laws.

Hawaii Time Off / Break Laws

Now, let’s take a closer look at how break times are regulated under Hawaii laws, and explore any exceptions that may exist.

What are Hawaii Meal-Break Laws?

 In Hawaii, there are no state regulations in place for regular employee breaks except for employed minors who are granted a 30-minute break for every 5 hours worked. If any employee happens to work through a 30-minute lunch break, the employer must count it as hours worked. To learn more about federal break laws, employees are advised to reach out to the US Department of Labor, as mentioned on Hawaii’s official government website.

What are Hawaii Breastfeeding Laws?

 The official Guide to the Rights of Breastfeeding Employees states that businesses with over 50 employees are required to provide lactation breaks. Along with the breaks, a designated nursing room, not a bathroom should also be made available. The length of each break is determined by the employer and the break provision should be available for up to one year after the child’s birth. Employers must display a notice of their employees’ rights and obligations regarding breastfeeding. Employees are entitled to full privacy and should be free from outside interruptions. The only exception to this rule is for employers with fewer than 20 employees. If the employer can prove that providing proper accommodations would be a financial or structural challenge, then they are exempt from providing a separate room.

What are Hawaii Leave Laws?

 Hawaii provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.

What is Hawaii Required Leave?

 The following are the required leave types that Hawaii employers must provide to their employees:

  • Sick Leave – According to the law in Hawaii, employers are not required to offer paid sick leave to their employees. If they do offer this benefit, it should be consistent with the company’s policies. However, there may be circumstances where employers are required to provide paid sick leave in accordance with other laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Family Leave – In Hawaii, employers with at least 100 employees in the state are required to provide paid or unpaid family leave for those who have worked for at least 6 months. Additionally, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows for up to 12 weeks of family leave for various reasons, including caring for a child or family member with a serious health condition, or for an employee’s own health condition. Both Hawaii Family Leave and Federal Family and Medical Leave can be taken concurrently.
  • Jury Duty Leave – Employers aren’t legally obligated to compensate their employees for jury duty leave, but they can’t take adverse actions against them for taking the time off. Additionally, any payments made to the employee by the government for their jury duty cannot be considered as part of their regular salary.
  • Voting Time Leave – Employers must offer 2 hours of paid time off to employees for voting between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, if an employee’s work schedule falls within this time frame (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), the employee can vote during the ballot’s opening hours without requiring time off.
  • Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave – If an individual works for a company with 50 or more employees and either they or their underage child has experienced domestic or sexual abuse, their employer is required to provide them with a maximum of 30 days of unpaid leave. This leave can be utilized for receiving medical attention, counseling, collaborating with protective services, or engaging in legal proceedings. In the case of employment with a smaller company, consisting of fewer than 50 employees, the individual is entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave for similar reasons.
  • Emergency Response Leave – In the event of a major disaster, an employer must give a state employee up to 30 days of paid leave for their contributions to the American Red Cross. A level 3 or higher disaster, declared by both the US President and the Governor as a state of emergency, is necessary for receiving this leave. Additionally, those eligible for paid military leave are entitled to 15 days off if they are summoned for disaster aid.
  • Organ and Bone Donation Leave – Employers must offer paid leave for employees who donate bone marrow, with a maximum limit of 7 days. For organ donation, paid leave must be granted up to 30 days.
  • Military Leave – If an employee of the National Guard in Hawaii needs to take leave for military service, their employer must approve it. This is because Hawaii, along with all other US states, recognizes the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which also mandates that employers must grant military employees the ability to return to their previous jobs.

What is Hawaii Non-Required Leave?

 The non-required leave types are:

  • Bereavement Leave – As per employment regulations, bereavement leave or funeral attendance time off is not mandatory for employers to provide. However, in case a company offers these benefits, it is expected to follow the pre-existing organizational policy.
  • Vacation Leave – According to state law, employers in Hawaii are not required to offer paid vacation leave. However, if an employer does decide to provide this benefit, it should comply with the company’s existing policies.
  • Holiday Leave – When it comes to private employers, there’s no law that says they have to give paid time off or extra pay for working on holidays, unless it’s overtime. However, public office workers and teachers at public schools are required to take days off on holidays that are recognized by the state.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Hawaii Child Labor Laws?

When it comes to employing minors in Hawaii, there are specific rules that must be followed. Generally, children aged 14 and under are not allowed to work. Individuals under the age of 18 require a work permit to work. Minors between the ages of 16 and 17 may work, but not in hazardous jobs.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Hawaii?

Here you can find the age restrictions for minors regarding work hours:

Age Labor Laws
14 and 15 – Not allowed to work before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. during school days
– Allowed to work between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on non-school days
– Maximum of 3 hours of work on a school day
– Maximum of 8 hours of work when school is not in session
– Maximum of 18 hours of work per week during school days
– Maximum of 40 hours of work per week when school is not in session
– Not allowed to work more than 6 days in a week
– Required to have a 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours worked
16 and 17 – No specific restrictions on work hours
– Required to have an Age Certificate issued by the Hawaii Department of Labor (in Hawaii)

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, the law is clear about prohibiting certain forms of employment for minors. These are typically determined based on the potential risk they pose to the health, safety, welfare, and morals of the child. The United States Secretary of Labor has established guidelines for such occupations. Additionally, there are specific prohibited occupations for minors in Hawaii. For instance, those under 15 are not allowed to work on pineapple harvesting machines or ride in the attached truck. Those under 10 are not allowed to operate any harvesting equipment in coffee harvesting, nor should they carry anything over 15 pounds.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.