Compliance Watch:
What are my overtime rights in Hawaii?

May 16th 2024

Overtime regulations play a critical role in protecting workers from exploitation and promoting fair labor practices. In Hawaii, unlike some states that lack specific state-level overtime laws, local regulations complement federal guidelines to ensure employees are adequately compensated for extra hours worked. Understanding your rights is essential to ensure you receive proper payment for overtime.

This article will explore the rules, regulations, and common practices concerning overtime work in Hawaii, addressing common questions and providing clarity on how these laws operate within the state.

This Article Covers

Understanding Overtime in Hawaii
Common Questions About Overtime in Hawaii
Legal Working Hours in Hawaii
Overtime Eligibility in Hawaii
    Overtime Payment Calculations in Hawaii
      Receiving Overtime Payment in Hawaii
      Violations of Overtime Law in Hawaii

      Understanding Overtime in Hawaii

      Is overtime pay mandatory in Hawaii?

      Yes, Hawaii requires employers to pay overtime. Employees not exempt under overtime laws are entitled to this compensation. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers most employers, making it essential to pay all qualifying employees fairly.

      When do I qualify for overtime pay in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, overtime regulations are more specific than in some other states. Employees qualify for overtime when they work over 40 hours in a workweek. The state follows the federal FLSA but has additional provisions.

      For every hour worked past 40, employers must pay at a rate of ‘time and a half’. This means employees earn 1.5 times their usual hourly rate. Hawaii does not have daily overtime rules, focusing instead on the weekly total.

      Unlike other states, some additional rules affect certain categories of workers. For example, those in the hospitality industry may have different agreements based on union contracts or employer policies. Employers in Hawaii can’t set alternative overtime policies that contravene state or federal laws.

      For more specific details, you can visit the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations website.

      How much is overtime pay in Hawaii?

      Employers in Hawaii must pay at least one and a half times the regular rate for overtime. This applies after 40 hours of work in a week. For instance, if the regular rate is $25 per hour, the overtime rate would be $37.50 per hour.

      The FLSA does not require double-time pay. Yet, employers may negotiate extra compensation agreements with employees or unions.

      Which laws govern overtime in Hawaii?

      Hawaii enforces specific laws regarding overtime pay. Employees in Hawaii must receive overtime compensation for any hours worked over 40 in a given workweek. This rule aligns with the federal FLSA, but Hawaii adds additional protections.

      Under state law, the overtime rate equals one and one-half times the employee’s regular pay. Employers must adhere to this without exception for all non-exempt workers. Work done during weekends, nights, or holidays does not automatically qualify for overtime unless it exceeds the 40-hour threshold.

      Hawaii does not set a cap on the maximum hours an employee can work per week. However, all overtime must be paid according to the stipulated rates. Employers can establish different workweek, which do not need to align with the traditional calendar week. Each workweek consists of 168 consecutive hours, or seven consecutive 24-hour periods, starting on any day the employer chooses.

      Further details about overtime in Hawaii can be found in Hawaii Overtime Laws.

      Common Questions About Overtime in Hawaii

      Do employers have to pay overtime in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, the law requires employers to pay overtime to non-exempt employees for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. This rule aligns with the federal FLSA. Most businesses fall under this act, including those with annual sales over $500,000 or those engaging in interstate commerce. Even small businesses often meet the interstate commerce criteria, which could involve activities like handling out-of-state transactions. Thus, exemptions from the FLSA are rare, ensuring most employees receive overtime pay.

      Can an employee refuse to work overtime in Hawaii?

      Employees in Hawaii can choose not to work overtime if their employer allows it. However, employers can require overtime work. There are no state or federal restrictions on the number of hours adults can work. Employees who refuse mandated overtime might face disciplinary actions, up to termination. Yet, employers cannot force overtime that breaches employment contracts or union agreements. Some sectors, like trucking, have specific rules limiting work hours to safeguard health and safety. Employers must adhere to these rules.

      Can I take comp time instead of overtime pay in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, the option to take compensatory time or “comp time” instead of receiving overtime pay depends largely on the sector you work in. Private sector employees, particularly those who are non-exempt, generally must receive overtime pay. This follows under federal law, which mandates payment for overtime work.

      Public sector employees, however, might have the option for comp time. They can only access this benefit under specific conditions:

      • The employee and employer must agree to the comp time arrangement before overtime work starts.
      • A written agreement, often facilitated by a union representative, must document this arrangement.

      These stipulations ensure that both parties clearly understand the terms before proceeding. For comp time to legally replace overtime pay, the employee must work occasional overtime, not a regular overtime schedule. Also, they should have a flexible schedule that sometimes requires overtime work.

      Hawaii law stipulates that comp time should equal the overtime rate. For every hour of overtime worked employees should receive one-and-a-half hours of comp time.

      Can I get overtime pay in Hawaii without employer approval?

      Yes, in Hawaii, non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay, even without prior approval from their employer. The federal FLSA governs this, stating that any “work not requested but suffered or permitted is work time.” Therefore, even if your employer did not formally authorize the extra hours, you should receive payment for overtime.

      Employers must be aware of the extra hours their employees work. Employees, however, must not hide their overtime work intentionally. Disciplinary actions may occur if employees do not seek approval for overtime, despite the requirement to pay for such hours.

      Does Hawaii have double-time pay?

      No, Hawaii does not mandate double-time pay for employees under any specific state laws. Like in some other states, the FLSA does not require employers to pay ‘double time’. Employers in Hawaii may choose to offer double-time pay as part of employment agreements, but it is not compulsory by law.

      If you’re unsure about the policies your employer may have regarding double-time pay, it’s a good idea to review your employment contract or speak directly with your HR department. This can provide clarity on any company-specific policies that may offer double-time pay.

      What is working ‘off-the-clock’ in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, ‘off-the-clock’ work occurs when employees perform tasks without pay, although their employer knows about these tasks. This type of work includes activities outside of scheduled working hours and isn’t considered when calculating weekly hours. Often, employers might use this method to dodge overtime payments, especially since such work typically happens during overtime periods. Common examples of ‘off-the-clock’ work involve:

      • Working without breaks.
      • Getting ready before shifts start.
      • Cleaning or shutting down after shifts.
      • Correcting or redoing work previously completed.

      In Hawaii, it’s against the law for employers to have their workers do ‘off-the-clock’ tasks. This practice contravenes the FLSA, which sets rules on overtime and other work-related issues in the state. Employees have a fundamental right to earn payment for all their work.

      What are common ways employers avoid paying overtime in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, just as in many other states, workers need to be aware of the strategies some employers use to circumvent paying overtime. Employers might adopt various methods to avoid the additional costs associated with overtime pay.

      • Off-the-Clock Work: A prevalent tactic is requiring employees to perform “off-the-clock” work. Workers may be asked to set up before officially starting their shifts or to complete tasks after clocking out, without compensation. These tasks could include preparing equipment or finalizing paperwork. According to Hawaii labor laws, all hours worked must be compensated, making such practices illegal.
      • Hours Averaging: Another method involves averaging hours over a bi-weekly period. For example, an employer might schedule an employee for 52 hours one week and then cut back to 25 hours the next week. This approach falsely presents the employee as having worked two standard 40-hour weeks, thereby dodging the requirement for overtime pay. This type of scheduling is against fair labor practices and is unlawful.
      • Compensatory Time Off: Employers in Hawaii may also use compensatory time off, often referred to as “comp time.” This occurs when an employer offers a day off instead of overtime pay after an employee has worked long hours. By doing this, they keep the total weekly hours below 40, avoiding the overtime threshold, even though the employee has worked additional hours on certain days.
      • Misclassification of Employees: Lastly, misclassifying employees as exempt salaried workers is a common way to sidestep overtime. In Hawaii, certain salaried employees who earn above a specific weekly amount are not eligible for overtime. However, some employers may incorrectly classify workers earning below this threshold as salaried to avoid overtime payments. This misclassification is an infringement of labor laws.

      Can you work seven days in a row in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, laws do not restrict the number of days adults can work consecutively. This applies to employees over 18 years old. However, for those under 18, the state limits work to six consecutive days. Employees working seven days consecutively should monitor their hours. This ensures they receive overtime for more than 40 hours worked in a week.

      How many ten-hour days can you work in a row in Hawaii?

      Hawaii does not have specific state laws that limit the number of consecutive days workers can be employed in a week for most industries. However, for certain types of work, like those under specific union contracts or industry-specific regulations (for example, some healthcare positions), there may be limits on the number of consecutive days an employee can work. These are generally negotiated and specified in employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements.

      What are full-time hours in Hawaii?

      Under federal guidelines from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a full-time employee works at least 30 hours per week. In Hawaii, full-time employment generally aligns with this definition. Employers often consider a regular work week of at least 20 hours as full-time for certain local benefits and requirements.

      How many hours straight can you legally work in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, the law does not specify the maximum number of hours that an adult employee can work in a day. This means an employee could, in theory, work up to 24 hours straight. Exceptions exist, however:

      • Specific industries like transportation have regulations. Truck drivers, for example, must follow strict hours-of-service regulations.
      • Union workers or employees under certain contracts might have stipulated maximum daily work hours.
      • Minors have more restrictive hours. Those aged 16 or 17 cannot exceed 30 hours a week during school sessions, and they must not work more than six consecutive days.

      Is overtime after eight hours or 40 hours in Hawaii?

      Like many states, Hawaii follows the federal FLSA for overtime. This means there is no daily overtime entitlement. Employees earn overtime only after working more than 40 hours in a single week.

      Does working on the weekend qualify for overtime pay in Hawaii?

      Working weekends in Hawaii does not automatically mean you earn overtime pay. Overtime depends solely on the total hours worked in a week. If an employee reaches 40 hours before the weekend, any hours worked over this during the weekend count as overtime. It’s crucial to know your designated work week, as employers can define different work weeks for different employees. This affects how your overtime gets calculated.

      How many hours off between shifts is required in Hawaii?

      Hawaii does not mandate a specific number of hours off between shifts for most employees. Like many states, it follows federal guidelines that do not require a minimum rest period between scheduled work shifts. However, specific industries might have their own rules. For example, roles that involve safety-sensitive activities, such as drivers and operators, may have regulated rest periods to ensure public and personal safety.

      Union workers often enjoy different conditions. Their contracts might specify longer rest periods between shifts, which companies must honor. Employees need to review their employment agreements or consult their union representatives to understand their rights fully.

      What does ‘hours worked’ include in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, ‘hours-worked’ encompasses all the time an employee must be on duty, at the employer’s premises, or any other prescribed workplace. Moreover, this term includes any additional time the employer permits or requires the employee to work.

      • Meal Breaks: Hawaii law stipulates that employees who work for a continuous period of eight hours must receive a meal break. Unlike in some states, these meal periods count as work time if the employee remains engaged in work-related tasks.
      • Rest Breaks: Although not mandatory, any short breaks—usually lasting less than 20 minutes—that an employer provides during the workday are considered compensable work hours.
      • Travel Time: Regular commutes from home to work do not typically count as hours worked. However, if an employee must travel as part of their job duties, such as going to different work sites during the workday, this time is compensable.

      For an in-depth look at specific situations, the Hawaii Wage Standards Division provides guidelines and answers at Hawaii Wage Standards Division.

      What are the most hours a salaried employee can work in Hawaii? 

      Hawaii adheres closely to federal employment and overtime regulations. These laws do not specify the maximum number of hours that a salaried employee must work each day or week. Employers in Hawaii expect salaried employees to complete all assigned tasks.

      Salaried non-exempt employees in Hawaii qualify for overtime pay after 40 hours of work per week. Exempt employees, those earning at least $35,568 annually, do not receive overtime pay. This salary threshold is set to rise to $844 weekly ($43,888 annually) by July 1, 2024. It will increase further to $1,128 weekly ($58,656 annually) starting January 1, 2025, with subsequent increases every three years from July 1, 2027.

      Always keep detailed records of your work hours. Should your calculations show earnings below the minimum wage per hour, consider filing a wage claim with the Hawaii Department of Labor.

      Discover the regulations affecting salaried employees in our articles on Hawaii Salaried Employees Laws and  Your Rights as Salaried Employees in Hawaii.

      What is the maximum number of hours an hourly employee can work in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, like in many states, there are no specific laws that limit the number of hours an hourly employee can work, barring federal regulations. Thus, non-exempt hourly employees over 18 can work unlimited hours per week in Hawaii.

      Certain industries or jobs with union contracts might have specific restrictions, such as daily hour limits. Hawaii law also stipulates that individuals under 18 cannot work more than six consecutive days and limits 16 and 17-year-olds to 30 hours per week during school sessions.

      Despite the lack of state-imposed hourly limits, Hawaii ensures that non-exempt hourly employees receive overtime pay for any hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. Always check for any specific rules that might apply to your industry or bargaining agreement.

      Discover the regulations affecting hourly employees in our article Your Rights as an Hourly Employee in Hawaii.

      Overtime Eligibility in Hawaii

      Who is eligible for overtime pay in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, the eligibility for overtime pay is primarily determined by whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt. Non-exempt employees, typically those in hourly roles such as manual laborers or customer service representatives, are entitled to overtime pay. These workers must be at least 16 years old. However, Hawaii restricts 16 and 17-year-olds to a maximum of 30 work hours per week during school sessions, preventing them from reaching the 40-hour threshold typically required for overtime eligibility.

      Who is exempt from overtime pay in Hawaii?

      Hawaii follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in defining overtime exemptions. This act categorizes certain employees as exempt, mainly those in white-collar roles such as administrative, professional, or executive positions. To qualify as exempt, employees must pass three critical tests:

      1. Salary Basis Test: Employees must earn a fixed salary that does not vary with the number of hours worked or the quantity of work done.
      2. Salary Level Test: As of January 2024, an employee must earn at least $684 per week ($35,568 annually) to be exempt. This threshold will rise to $844 weekly ($43,888 annually) by July 2024, and again to $1,128 weekly ($58,656 annually) by January 2025, with subsequent increases every three years starting July 2027.
      3. Duties Test: The employee’s primary duties must involve high-level administrative, professional, or executive tasks that require discretion and independent judgment.

      Exemptions also apply to several other job categories in Hawaii, such as airline employees, commissioned sales workers, computer professionals, and more. Further information on jobs categorized as exempt as well as specific regulations that apply can be found on the official US Department of Labor website.

      Can salaried employees get overtime pay in Hawaii?

      Yes, salaried employees in Hawaii may qualify for overtime pay under specific conditions. These criteria closely follow the guidelines set by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Salaried workers must meet certain requirements to be exempt from overtime:

      • They should earn a minimum of $684 per week or $35,568 annually. This threshold will rise to $844 weekly ($43,888 annually) from July 1, 2024. By January 1, 2025, it will further increase to $1,128 per week ($58,656 annually). Additional increases will occur every three years starting July 1, 2027.
      • Employees must work in a professional, administrative, or executive role.
      • Their job duties must involve the use of independent judgment and discretion.

      If salaried employees do not meet these criteria, they are classified as non-exempt and are eligible for overtime pay.

      Overtime Payment Calculations in Hawaii

      What is my regular rate of pay in Hawaii?

      To determine the regular rate of pay in Hawaii, which is crucial for calculating overtime, follow these steps:

      For Salaried Employees:

      • First, multiply the monthly salary by 12 to get the annual salary.
      • Divide this figure by 52 to find the weekly salary.
      • Then, divide the weekly salary by 40 to determine the regular hourly rate.

      For Piecework or Commission Employees:

      • Consider the piece rate or commission rate.
      • Divide total earnings for the week by the total hours worked.
      • For group work, calculate the total pieces completed by the group and divide by group size to find the rate per person. Multiply this by the hours each individual worked.

      How do you calculate overtime in Hawaii?

      Calculating overtime in Hawaii follows specific state guidelines alongside federal laws. Employees earn overtime at one and a half times their regular pay rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

      To calculate an employee’s overtime in Hawaii, you must:

      1. Identify the regular hourly rate.
      2. Multiply the regular rate by 1.5 to find the overtime rate.
      3. Multiply the overtime rate by the total overtime hours worked to calculate the owed overtime pay.

      How is overtime taxed in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, the taxation of overtime pay follows the same rules as regular income. The more you earn, the higher your tax bracket may be.

      Significant overtime can push your earnings into a higher tax bracket temporarily. This affects only the pay period in which you earned the extra money. Remember, entering a higher tax bracket increases the tax rate only for the income above the threshold.

      For further information on how overtime affects your taxes in Hawaii, check out the official Hawaii Taxation Office website.

      Receiving Overtime Payment in Hawaii

      How is overtime paid in Hawaii?

      Employers can choose to pay this via direct deposit or by issuing a physical paycheck. Most choose direct deposit for its convenience. Each payment must come with a detailed pay stub, either digitally or on paper. This paystub shows the breakdown of regular and overtime hours worked.

      When do I receive my overtime paycheck in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, the timing for receiving overtime pay is strict. Employers must issue the overtime payment on the regular payday for the period in which the overtime was earned. This practice ensures transparency and consistency in payment schedules. It helps employees manage their finances better knowing exactly when all their earnings will be available.

      Violations of Overtime Law in Hawaii

      What if my employer refuses to pay me overtime in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, the process for addressing unpaid overtime begins with direct communication. You need to notify your employer about the unpaid overtime. This notice should clearly outline your intent to pursue legal action if necessary. It must include:

      • The total amount of overtime due.
      • Specific dates and hours of the overtime work.

      Employers in Hawaii have 20 days to respond after receiving this notification. Within this period, they should either pay the full amount owed or reach a satisfactory resolution with you. If they do not, you have several options:

      • File a complaint with the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR). The DLIR handles wage and hour disputes and can enforce state labor laws.
      • Consider filing a lawsuit in state court to recover your unpaid overtime.

      Remember, it’s important to keep records of all communications and documentation related to your claim. This evidence will support your case should you need to escalate the matter.

      What is the penalty for failing to pay overtime in Hawaii?

      Hawaii enforces strict penalties for failure to pay overtime, as outlined by both state and federal laws. The state adheres to the FLSA, which the US Department of Labor (DOL) oversees. Employers in Hawaii who deliberately or repeatedly violate these laws face severe repercussions.

      For each instance of non-compliance, employers might incur a civil penalty of up to $1,000. These penalties aim to deter willful neglect of overtime payment responsibilities. Employers found intentionally violating the FLSA can also face criminal charges. They could be fined up to $10,000. Moreover, if they repeat the offense, they risk imprisonment.

      Employees who do not receive their due overtime pay are eligible for back wages and liquidated damages. This means you could receive twice the amount of unpaid overtime.

      How can I file a wage claim for overtime in Hawaii?

      In Hawaii, workers who wish to file a wage claim for unpaid overtime can do so through the state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR). The process starts with gathering all relevant documentation. This includes pay stubs, work schedules, and any communication regarding your employment. Next, you should fill out the “Wage Complaint Form,” which is available online.

      After submitting the form, the Wage Standards Division of the DLIR will review your claim. They will contact your employer and work towards a resolution. It’s crucial to file your claim as soon as you realize there is an issue to avoid missing any deadlines set by state law.

      For further guidance, you can visit the official DLIR website or call their office directly at (808) 586-8777. They provide resources and assistance to ensure that your rights as an employee are protected.

      Can employers retaliate against employees for making a wage claim in Hawaii?

      No, Hawaii state and federal laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who file or plan to file a wage claim. The FLSA at the federal level makes it illegal for any employer to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint”. Similarly, Hawaii’s laws ensure protection for workers who formally notify their employers about unpaid wages and express their intent to file a complaint or lawsuit.

      Employees in Hawaii who face retaliation, such as being fired for initiating a wage claim or participating in an investigation, can file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL). They also have the option to take legal action on their own. This legal route can lead to reinstatement and compensation for lost wages and possibly liquidated damages.

      Learn more about Hawaii Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

      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.