It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Hawaii statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Hawaii labor laws every small business owner should know.

Resources

First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:

Leave

  • Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
  • Medical Leave: Employees may be eligible for up to 4 weeks of unpaid family leave each calendar year for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick child or family member with a serious health condition. 
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
    • Employers may establish a contract that denies employees payment for accrued vacation leave if they resign, if they are terminated, or if they fail to meet certain requirements. 
    • Employers can cap the amount of vacation time that can be accrued. 
  • Jury Duty: Employers are not required to pay an employee for time taken to respond to a jury summons, but they are not allowed to punish the employee in any way.
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays. 
  • Voting Leave: Employers must provide up to 2 hours of paid time off so that employees have 2 consecutive hours before or after their shift to vote. 
    • The paid time off cannot include existing lunches or breaks. 
    • Employers do not have to provide paid time off if the employee has 2 consecutive hours before or after their shift to vote. 
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave. 

Final Paycheck

  • Employees who are terminated or laid off must be paid final wages at the time of discharge. 
  • Employees who quit or separate from employment due to a labor dispute must be paid final wages no later than the next regularly scheduled payday. 

Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in Hawaii is $10.10.

Tipped Wages

  • Employers are allowed to credit $0.75 of the tips earned by a tipped employee towards the minimum wage obligation when the tipped employee earns at least $7.00 in tips. 
  • This means the minimum wage for tipped employees comes out to be $9.35, but also that the tipped employee must earn at least $17.10 per hour when tips and wages are added together. 
  • If an employee does not earn at least $16.25 when wages, tips and the tip credit are combined, the employer cannot take the tip credit. 
  • Employees are allowed to participate in a tip pooling or sharing arrangement, but it is unclear whether or not an employee can require it. 

Child Labor

  • Minors 14 and 15 years of age may not work:
    • Outside of the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. 
    • More than 6 consecutive days 
    • More than 18 hours in a week
    • More than 3 hours on a school day
  • Minors 16 and 17 years of age may not work:
    • Outside of the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • More than 6 consecutive days
    • More than 18 hours in a week
    • More than 3 hours on a school day 

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • Employers are required to pay non-exempt employees overtime at a rate of 1½ times their regular rate when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. 
  • A 30-minute break must be given to minor employees 14 and 15 years of age who work 5 consecutive hours. 
  • There are no other laws regarding breaks for employees 16 years of age or older, so federal laws apply. 
    • If an employer chooses to give a break according to federal law, breaks lasting 20 minutes or less must be paid. 
    • Meal periods of 30 minutes or longer do not need to be paid as long as employees can do as they wish.

Employment Discrimination

  • The Hawaii Employment Practices Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, color, ancestry, sex including gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions, genetic information, AIDS/HIV, credit history or credit report, status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence, or arrest and court record (except if there has been a conviction directly related to job responsibilities).
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.       

Termination

Hawaii is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws regarding shift scheduling in Hawaii.

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