This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of Hawaii.
Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Hawaii.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
No federal or state laws in the USA require employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time, including those of Hawaii.
If employees do receive paid time off, written into their employment contract, the company is required by law to comply with anything stated in that contract (such as yearly vacation time quotas or accrual rates).
There is no specific mention of Use It or Lose It in Hawaii law, meaning employers are free to institute such a policy if they wish.
Use It or Lose It leave policies mean that any leave not used at the end of the year is forfeited, and not carried over to the following year. Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.
Hawaii employers are not required to pay out unused PTO or sick time upon separation of employment (e.g. when an employee quits, is fired or is laid off).
However, employers need to comply with their employment contracts on this matter. To be safe, it’s best practice for employers to clearly state in their contracts whether or not unused PTO will be paid out, and ensure employees read and sign to acknowledge they understand this.
Employers in Hawaii are not required to provide paid sick leave to employees.
Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Hawaii must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.
The following state holidays are observed in Hawaii:
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|3rd Monday in February||President’s Day|
|March 26||Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day|
|2 days before Easter||Good Friday|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day|
|Jun 11||King Kamehameha Day|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|3rd Friday in August||Statehood Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|November 11||Veterans Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
Employers in Hawaii are not required to provide a paid or unpaid day off for state holidays. Employees required to work on a state holiday are not entitled to additional benefits, such as higher pay or a compensatory day off.
The federal FMLA applies for maternity leave in Hawaii, which entitles mothers to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for a new birth, adoption or foster.
In addition, the Hawaii’s Family Leave Law (HFLL) grants workers for companies with 100 or more employees up to four weeks of unpaid leave each year for the birth or adoption of a new child.
Fathers are granted the same rights under the FMLA and HFLL to take 12 weeks (FMLA) and 4 weeks (HFLL) of unpaid leave each year if they have a newborn child.
There is no law in Hawaii regarding bereavement leave. The choice of whether or not to offer leave, as well as whether it is paid or unpaid, is up to the employer’s discretion.
There is no requirement to provide paid leave to Hawaii employees for attending jury duty, though employees must not be fired, penalized, coerced or threatened for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.
There is no law requiring employees to receive paid or unpaid leave to vote in Hawaii.
Hawaii National Guard members are entitled to unlimited unpaid leave for National Guard service, and the right to return to their original or a comparable position.
Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Hawaii, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.
Anything not covered in Hawaii state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.
However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.
For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.