Hawaii Labor Laws Guide
Ultimate Hawaii labor law guide: minimum wage, overtime, break, leave, hiring, termination, and miscellaneous labor laws.
|Hawaii Labor Laws FAQ
|Hawaii minimum wage
|1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($15.75 for minimum wage workers)
|30-minute meal breaks for every 7.5 hours worked a day
Table of contents
Hawaii wage laws
With regards to wages, Hawaii has the following laws, regulations, and limitations.
|HAWAII MINIMUM WAGE
|Regular minimum wage
|Tipped minimum wage
Hawaii minimum wage
Currently, Hawaii minimum wage is $10.10 per hour for adults, while employed minors earn $8.59 per hour.
Tipped minimum wage in Hawaii
The current tipped Hawaii minimum wage can be no less than $9.35 per hour, for occupations where employees can regularly earn more than $20 a month on tips.
Additionally, any tips or gratuities the employee earns with proof via a receipt or another deposit cannot be taken by the employer, unless state or federal law requires it.
Subminimum wage in Hawaii (Training/student minimum wage)
Hawaii Under 20 Minimum Wage Regulation states that any new employee under 20 years old can be paid $4.25 for the first 90 days of their employment.
The student minimum wage is $8.59, for full-time high-school or college students. Their minimum wage must be no less than 85% of the regular minimum wage for up to 20 hours of work per week.
Exceptions to the minimum wage in Hawaii
Employees in the following sectors are not required to be paid the minimum wage:
- 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
Additionally, employers in Hawaii are not required to pay minimum wage to:
- Employees earning $2,000 per month or more.
- New employees under 20 years of age, due to their lack of work experience. They can pay employees a training wage of $4.25 per hour, but only for the first 90 days of their employment.
- Full-time students employed in a part-time occupation. They are eligible for 85% of Hawaii minimum wage for part-time work (no more than 20 hours a week).
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws — the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage rate.
Hawaii payment laws
In accordance with the Hawaii Office of Labor Law, employers are required to pay wages to their employees on set days, at least twice per month.
The payouts should happen on the same days each month, predetermined by the employer.
Hawaii overtime laws
Overtime in Hawaii is regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to the FLSA, any time over 40 weekly hours worked is considered overtime.
In accordance with this, employers are required to pay their employees 1.5 times their regular wage for any overtime work.
It's important to note that any hours worked over 8 hours per day does not count as overtime. Only the hours totaling over 40 hours per week.
Overtime exceptions and exemptions in Hawaii
Hawaii state law states that employees in the agricultural, livestock/poultry, dairy, sugar cane, and horticultural industries are exempted from overtime pay.
Employees with a minimum salary of $2,000 a month are also exempt from getting overtime pay. Everyone else earning under $455 per week (or $23,660 per year) is eligible.
Additional exemptions in specific occupations include:
- Executive positions (full-time management of two or more employees)
- Administrative workers (business operations, management, administrative training)
- Professional workers (work requiring advanced education: artists, certified teachers, IT professionals)
- Outside salespeople
Hawaii break laws
Let's now focus on Hawaii laws governing break times — and the exceptions to these laws.
Meal breaks in Hawaii
Hawaii has no state regulation concerning breaks for regular employees. The only mention is in relation to employed minors, who are eligible for a 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours worked.
However, if an employee works through a designated lunch break (lasting 30 minutes), an employer is required to count the time as hours worked.
Hawaii's official government website states that employees can contact the US Department of Labor for more information on federal break laws.
Hawaii breastfeeding laws
According to the official Guide to the Rights of Breastfeeding Employees, lactation breaks are mandatory for businesses with more than 50 employees, and provided in the following way:
- Employees get a designated nursing room (other than a bathroom).
- The lactation break time duration is per the employer's decision (and within reasonable boundaries), and should be available for up to 1 year after the child's birth.
- Employers must post a notice in an accessible place to keep the employees informed of their rights and obligations concerning breastfeeding.
- The employee should have full privacy from coworkers and the public, and be free from intrusion.
The only exception to this regulation is if the employer has fewer than 20 employees.
If the employer can prove that finding proper accommodations poses financial, structural, or other difficulties to the business, they are exempt from providing a separate room.
Hawaii leave requirements
With regards to required and non-required leave, Hawaii has no specific regulations, which allows employers to set their own terms and benefits.
Meaning, each company/occupation will have their own rules, so we would advise employees to inform themselves during the application process.
Hawaii required leave
Let's take a look at all the possibilities concerning required leave in Hawaii.
In regards to sick leave in Hawaii, state law says that employers aren't obligated to provide paid leave. Should an employer choose to offer such benefits, they should be in line with the established policies of the company.
However, employers may be obligated to provide paid sick leave in situations where the Family and Medical Leave Act or other laws take priority.
Unlike with sick leave, Hawaii Family Leave Law states that any employer with 100 or more employees who work in the State of Hawaii is required to give paid or unpaid family leave if the person has been employed for at least 6 months.
Under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which also applies, they may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of family leave, for the following:
- Birth and care of a newborn child (both parents eligible)
- Employee's care of a child, partner, or family member with a serious health condition
- Employee suffering from a serious health condition, making them unable to perform their job
- Qualifying Exigency Leave — where the employee's partner, parent, or child is a military member called to active duty or already serving
An employee can qualify for both Hawaii Family Leave and Federal Family and Medical Leave, and they can run concurrently.
Jury duty leave
An employer is not required to pay for an employee's leave for jury duty summons.
At the same time, they are not allowed to penalize or otherwise punish the employee for that time off.
Any fee the employee receives from the state for their jury duty summons cannot be counted as wages.
Voting time leave
An employer is required to provide employees with 2 hours of paid time off for voting, between the opening and closing of ballots (from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
There is a caveat — if an employee works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. then they can vote when the ballots open, so the employer is not required to provide the 2 hours off.
Domestic violence or sexual assault leave
An employer with 50 or more employees is required to provide up to 30 days of unpaid leave to employees if they (or their underage children) have been victims of domestic or sexual abuse.
An employer with under 50 employees is required to provide 5 days of unpaid leave.
The leave is given for:
- Medical attention to recovering from physical or psychological injuries,
- Counseling to recover from physical or psychological injuries,
- Working with protection services, or
- Participating in legal action (criminal and civil proceedings).
Emergency response leave
An employer is required to provide up to 30 days of Disaster Leave to a state employee, for their services and response to the American Red Cross.
To be eligible for the Disaster Leave, among other things, the disaster must be a level 3 or higher, declared as such by the US President, and declared as a state of emergency by the Governor.
Similarly, employees called to active duty to aid with disaster relief efforts are entitled to 15 days of military leave (so long as they are eligible for paid military leave).
Organ and bone donation leave
An employer is required to provide up to 7 days of paid leave for employees donating bone marrow and up to 30 days for organ donation.
An employer is required to approve military leave for employees who are part of the National Guard.
Like all other states in the US, Hawaii acknowledges the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), where employers are required to allow employees to return to their jobs after military service.
Hawaii non-required leave
Following is all information concerning non-required leave.
An employer is not required to give employees bereavement leave, nor time off for attending a funeral.
If an employer chooses to offer this benefit, it should comply with an established company policy.
In regards to paid vacation leave in Hawaii, state law says that employers aren't obligated to provide paid leave.
Should an employer choose to offer such benefits, they should be in line with the established policies of the company.
In the case of private employers, there is no legal obligation for providing paid leave, nor paying employees premium pay for working holidays (unless it becomes overtime).
On the other hand, public office employees and educators in public schools are required to have days off on state-recognized holidays.
Child labor laws in Hawaii
When it comes to the employment of minors, the rules are as follows:
- No child aged 14 or under is allowed to work.
- Minors under the age of 18 are required to have a work permit.
- Minors aged 16 and 17 are allowed to work, but not in hazardous jobs.
- During the school year, no minor under 16 years of age can work longer than 3 hours a day when school is in session, and 8 hours on non-school days.
- No minor under 16 years of age can work before 6 a.m. and after 9.30 p.m. on school days. On non-school days, they can work until 11 p.m.
When it comes to child labor, the State of Hawaii follows the Child Labor Act, and considers any person under the age of 18 a minor. Every employer needs to obtain a written work permit in order to employ minors.
Labor laws for minors aged 14 and 15
Minors aged 14 and 15 are allowed to work very limited hours.
They aren't allowed to work before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. when school is in session.
But, on non-school days, they are allowed to work between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
They also aren't allowed to work for more than 3 hours on a school day, or 8 hours when school is not in session.
They can work up to 18 hours on weeks when school is in session, or up to 40 hours when school is not in session.
They aren't allowed to work more than 6 days a week, and require a 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours worked.
Labor laws for minors aged 16 and 17
With employed minors aged 16 and 17, there are no restrictions on work hours.
However, they also require an Age Certificate, issued by the Hawaii Department of Labor.
Prohibited occupations for minors
The Hawaii Child Labor Law strictly prohibits certain employments for minors.
Generally, any occupation deemed by the United States Secretary of Labor to be hazardous for the minor's health, welfare, safety, and morals.
Some of the more specific prohibited occupations specific to Hawaii:
- Minors under 15 cannot work on pineapple harvesting machines or be in the truck attached to one such machine.
- Minors under 10 are not allowed to use any harvesting equipment in coffee harvesting, nor should they carry loads over 15 pounds in weight.
Hiring laws in Hawaii
Hiring laws in Hawaii follow the same federal regulations as in the rest of the US (and as described in the next section below).
The only addition specific to Hawaii is that the employer is not allowed to discriminate against a candidate if they are a part of a volunteer emergency responder team or currently absent as part of the National Guard.
Termination laws in Hawaii
Hawaii is a state following employment-at-will.
This means that employees working under contract can be terminated for any reason at any moment.
The only caveat is that termination cannot be considered legal if it's due to discrimination or retaliation against an employee.
Final paycheck in Hawaii
As stipulated by the Hawaii Department of Labor, employers are required to pay all final wages to employees by the next payday, regardless of the cause of termination.
Further information concerning hiring and termination processes can be found in the discrimination laws section below.
Discrimination laws in Hawaii
Hawaii follows a strict regulation prohibiting employment and termination discrimination on multiple grounds.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits discrimination based on:
- 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
- AIDS/HIV status
- Disability (mental, physical)
The State of Hawaii also prohibits any discrimination and wrongful termination based on an employee's membership in a volunteer emergency responder organization or the National Guard.
Occupational safety in Hawaii
Hawaii doesn't follow the federal OSHA, but instead has two programs within its own Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH):
- Occupational Safety and Health, and
- Boiler and Elevator Safety
Hawaii is one of the 26 jurisdictions approved for forming its own state safety and health program.
As such, HIOSH mainly follows the federal with some adjustments:
- Employees need certificates of fitness for blasters and pyrotechnics specialists, hoisting machine operators, and safety and health professionals.
- Increased workplace inspections for high-hazard industries.
- HIOSH provides free on-site consultations to identify workplace hazards and evaluations.
Miscellaneous Hawaii labor laws
In this final section, we will go through some of the additional labor laws that are of public interest.
Whistleblower protection laws
According to the Hawaii State Legislature, an employer cannot terminate an employee's contract, threaten them, discriminate against them, or affect their wages if they are:
- About to report (to an employer's supervisor or public body) a violation that has occurred or is believed will occur, either verbally or in writing, UNLESS the employee knows or believes that the report is false.
- Expected to take part in an investigation or hearing held by a public body in connection with a violation at the workplace.
Background check laws
Hawaii is among a great number of US states that follow the Ban the Box legislation. It is also one of the 14 states that extend this legislation to private businesses.
According to this law, an employer is not allowed to ask about, or look into an applicant's criminal history before offering them the job.
The only exception to this rule is in cases where the criminal record bears a “rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position”. This express inquiry is allowed for occupations at schools, security, and financial and insurance institutions.
However, employers should keep in mind that:
- Criminal background checks fall under anti-discrimination law, and they cannot put candidates with criminal records at a disadvantage.
- If using third-party software to conduct a background check, employers need to look into Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance requirements, like a written permission from the candidate, and a document assuring the third party that the information gathered won't be misused.
- In Hawaii, only felony convictions from the last 7 years and misdemeanor convictions from the last 5 years can have their application rejected by the employer. Any older felony or conviction cannot be counted while considering an application.
Drug and alcohol testing laws
The State of Hawaii gives employers full freedom to conduct drug and alcohol testing at their discretion. However, the few regulations that do exist include:
- Only blood and urine collection are allowed for testing purposes.
- Employers must use either the Hawaii Department of Health laboratories or those certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration.
In summary, employers can test for both recreational and medical marijuana, drug and alcohol, and 11-panel screening (marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, phencyclidine, methadone, alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, propoxyphene, and methaqualone).
Employer use of social media regulations
In Hawaii, according to The Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act, an employer cannot:
- Ask an employee to disclose their login information for their personal account.
- Ask an employee to disclose the contents of their personal social media account, unless it was voluntarily shared by the employee.
- Alter the settings or login information of the employee to make the content of the account accessible to others.
- Actively try to gain access to an employee's personal account by observing the employee logging in, etc.
The following actions are allowed:
- Accessing an employee's publicly available information on social media.
- Formulating a policy concerning the use of electronic devices provided for employees for business purposes.
- Asking an employee to share specific content if it's part of a legal proceeding or investigation.
- Asking an employee to share specific content if it concerns investigating threats to safety (harassment, threats of workplace violence, threats to safety of employer's information technology or communication, or threats to employer property).
Sexual harassment training laws
The State of Hawaii has no sexual harassment training requirements.
The State of Hawaii follows the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA applies only to companies with 20 or more employees.
Additionally, Hawaii has H-Cobra, a health insurance program for individuals with HIV who are no longer able to get group coverage, but are eligible to convert to an individual “HIPAA conversion plan”.
Aside from COBRA, there is also the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act, which provides health care coverage for employees, for non-work-related illnesses or injuries. Employees who are not eligible for this health care program are:
- Employees who work less than 20 hours per week,
- Federal, State, and County workers,
- Seasonal agricultural workers,
- Commission-based salespersons in insurance or real estate,
- Employees in domestic work, and
- Employees under 21 working for their parents.
Expense reimbursement laws
Hawaii has no law regulating travel and other work-related reimbursements.
When it comes to record-keeping, Hawaii follows the guidelines laid out by the FLSA.
Records kept for 1 year
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers are obligated to keep all records relating to employment for at least 1 year from the date of termination.
Employers should also keep copies of every employee's I-9 form for at least one year.
The paperwork includes:
- Employee's full name,
- Their social security number,
- Date hired, rehired, or returned to work,
- Date employment ended and the reason(s) for separation from work,
- Amount of remuneration paid in each calendar quarter,
- Amount of remuneration paid each pay period, including the value of any remuneration in a form other than cash,
- Amount and date of any special payment, such as a bonus, gift, or prize, and
- Place in which services were performed.
Records kept for 2 years
Any documents relating to basic employment and earning, such as wages, timecards/timesheets, billing records, and any bonuses or deductions from pay.
Records kept for 3 years
Any documents concerning payroll records, agreements, bargaining agreements, sales and purchase records.
Records kept for over 4 years
This documentation should include:
- Records of job-related injuries are kept for 5 years.
- Records of annual reports for benefit plans are kept for 6 years.
- Records of toxic substance exposure are kept for 30 years.
We hope this Hawaii labor law guide has been helpful. We once again remind you to make sure you've paid attention to the links we've provided, as most of them will lead you to the official government websites and other relevant information.
Please note that this guide was written in Q1 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this Hawaii labor laws guide.
We strongly advise you to consult with the appropriate institutions and/or certified representatives before acting on any legal matters.
Clockify is not responsible for any losses or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal or tax advisors.
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