WAGE & HOUR LAW: Time Off Tips Overtime Minimum Wage

Hawaii Wage & Hour Law

Waipahu, Hawaii 96797

What You Need to Know About Hawaii Minimum Wage, Overtime, and Other Wage Claims

You can recover unpaid wages, overtime, and tips in Hawaii if you know your rights and how to enforce them. Does your employer owe you unpaid wages or overtime? Or, maybe you need information on the breaks you’re entitled to, overtime rules, or your right to tips. If so, you'll find the information you need on this site to learn what you can do in Hawaii to get the money you have earned.

Here, we answer many common questions about wage and hour law in Hawaii, including:

A few things to keep in mind as you explore this site:

1. Wage and hour laws differ from state to state.

Most states have enacted their own wage and hour regulations and procedures for employees to follow if they have been treated unfairly. These regulations and procedures vary from state to state. Start by finding out about your rights to pay in Hawaii.

2. Some states simply adopt the federal minimum wage and overtime standards.

The U.S. Department of Labor  covers minimum wage, overtime, and other wage and hour matters. In states that have not adopted their own wage and hour regulations and procedures, your rights are set out by the U.S. Department of Labor. Check Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to find out more.

3. You are entitled to certain payments when your employment ends.

Your final paycheck must include certain amounts, regardless of whether you resigned, were laid off, or were fired. Find out whether your former employer met Hawaii’s final paycheck requirements.


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Am I Entitled to Minimum Wage in Hawaii?

You are legally entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage in Hawaii, unless you fit into one of the exceptions to the minimum wage laws (discussed below). It doesn’t matter whether you are paid by the piece, by the hour, by salary, on commission, or in tips. You must receive at least the minimum hourly wage, unless you are exempt.

What Is the Minimum Wage?

To prevent employers from paying employees an unfairly low wage, the federal government sets a minimum wage rate. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour (it was last raised in 2009).

Most states have their own minimum wage law. Some states have a higher minimum wage, some have adopted the federal minimum wage rate, and a few even have a lower minimum wage. And, a number of local governments have set their own higher minimum wage rates. more...  

Am I Entitled to Overtime Pay in Hawaii?

Most employers must pay overtime pay for every hour of overtime an employee works in Hawaii, unless the employee is exempt. To figure out if you are entitled to overtime pay for your work in Hawaii, you need to know:

  • whether your employer is covered by federal or state overtime pay laws
  • whether you are  eligible for overtime pay under federal or state overtime pay laws
  • whether you are exempt from overtime pay laws
  • how Hawaii regulates overtime pay, and
  • how Hawaii calculates the overtime pay rate.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires most employers to pay employees one-and-a-half times their regular hourly wage (called "time and a half") for every hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek, unless the employee is exempt (that is, the employee falls within an exception to the overtime requirement). So, if you are eligible, you should be paid your regular hourly wage plus 50% of that wage as premium pay for each overtime hour you work.


Checklist: Information and Documents You Will Need to File a Wage Claim

If you decide to file a claim for unpaid wages, be sure you have all of the information and documents you will need, including:

  • personal information, such as name, birthdate, address, phone number, email address, and Social Security number
  • name, address, and phone number of your employer
  • the location where you actually worked (this may be different from the employer’s official address)
  • your manager’s or the company owner’s name and phone number
  • a description of the type of work you did or do for the employer
  • pay stubs or wage statements showing how, when, and how much you were paid for the period in question, and
  • work hours, shift assignments, or other time records showing hours worked in the period in question.

You can find more information about what you need to have on hand to file a wage claim at Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Current Minimum Wage in Hawaii

The minimum wage in Hawaii is $12.00 an hour. Because this is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, employees in The Aloha State must be paid at least $12.00 an hour. 

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the “floor” minimum wage for eligible workers in the U.S. This means most workers can't be paid less than the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour. But, many states and some local governments set their own minimum wage. Workers are entitled to be paid the highest minimum wage that applies where they work, whether it is set by federal, state, or local law. 

You can find out whether your local government has a minimum wage law, as well as information on how to enforce your minimum wage rights, at our Hawaii Minimum Wage and Wage Claims page.

What Are My Rights to Tips in Hawaii?

Your Hawaii employer is legally allowed to pay you less than the minimum wage, as long as you earn enough in tips to bring your hourly rate up to the Hawaii minimum. You can also be required to share or pool your tips with other employees, in some circumstances. 

If you earn tips, you should know the rules about

  • what counts as a tip
  • how much your employer must pay you in addition to your tips, and
  • whether and how much you can be required to contribute to a tip sharing arrangement (also called a “tip pool”).


Does My Hawaii Employer Have to Give Me Breaks From Work?

In Hawaii, you are not entitled to paid rest breaks.

Although many employees get meal and rest breaks during the workday, these breaks aren’t legally required everywhere. Federal law doesn’t require employers to give employees time off to eat or rest during their shifts. Employees are entitled to these breaks only if their state requires it.  

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t require employers to give breaks, but it does regulate when employers have to pay for breaks they choose to give. 

Should Your Breaks Be Paid?

The FLSA requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked, including time the employer may classify as a “break.” An employer does not have to pay for longer meal breaks during which the employee is relieved of all work duties.


Your Final Paycheck Rights in Hawaii

When your job ends, you have the right to be paid for all of the work you've done. Whether you quit, you were laid off, or you were fired, your employer must give you a final paycheck that includes all of the wages you have earned. The deadlines and contents of your check depend on Hawaii law. 

When Is Your Final Paycheck Due?

Federal law does not set a deadline for your final paycheck. But some states require employers to pay your final paycheck within a set number of days after termination or resignation. And, these deadlines sometimes differ depending on whether you were fired or resigned. 


Am I Entitled to Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave, or Vacation Time in Hawaii?

Employees in Hawaii are entitled to state temporary disability benefits under Hawaii law.

The rules for paid sick and family leave have changed rapidly in response to COVID-19. In March of 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which required many employers to start providing some paid time off to employees affected by COVID-19 by the beginning of April. The leave provisions of the law expired at the end of 2020, however.

Employers in most states are not legally required to offer paid time off to employees, although many choose to do so.  more...  

How Can I Find a Wage and Hour Lawyer in Hawaii?

You can find a good employment lawyer to help with your wage claim in Hawaii in several ways. A referral from someone you know is a great way to find a lawyer. Ask family members, friends, and co-workers whether they can recommend a good employment lawyer. 

Lawyers specialize, so the lawyer who handled your sister’s car accident won’t be the right person to handle your wage claim. However, lawyers also know other lawyers, so don’t hesitate to ask a well-recommended lawyer in a different field for an employment lawyer referral. more...  

Intern or Employee: Should I Be Getting Paid?

Do you have an unpaid internship that feels suspiciously like a job? Although there are certainly legitimate internships throughout the private sector, which provide interns with important opportunities to learn new skills, there are also plenty of scams. Unless your internship meets all six of the requirements explained below, you should be getting paid. 

Generally speaking, people who work for a company are entitled to be paid. They are protected by wage and hour laws guaranteeing them the minimum wage, overtime, and so on. Unpaid internships are an exception to this general rule. But an employer may call a work opportunity an internship -- for which they will receive work they don't have to pay for -- only if it truly is an educational opportunity for the intern, rather than just unpaid labor. 


What Can I Do If I Am Owed Pay in Hawaii?

If you have an overtime, minimum wage violation, or other wage and hour claim against your employer, you can complain within your company, file a wage claim (in most states), or file a lawsuit to assert your rights. 

If your employer has not paid you the full minimum wage, has not paid you overtime you earned, has not paid you for every hour worked, has required you to work through unpaid breaks, or has illegally kept your tips (among other things), you may have a legal claim for wage theft. Below, we explain the most common wage law violations and provide information on how to enforce your right to be paid fairly, and on time, for all of your work.

Common Wage and Overtime Violations

If your employer hasn’t paid you fully for every hour you have worked, you may have legal claims for violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or Hawaii wage and hour law. Here are some common wage theft claims.


How an Employment Lawyer Can Help You

You don’t have to hire a lawyer to help you negotiate with your employer about unpaid wages or overtime, file a wage claim, or even file a lawsuit in Hawaii or federal court. At some point in the legal process, however, most people will want to at least consult with a lawyer. And, for many, it will make sense to hire a lawyer early on. 

There are many ways an employment lawyer can help you with your legal claims for unpaid wages or overtime. A lawyer can help you by:

  • Figuring out whether your employer is breaking the law (that is, whether you have a claim in the first place).
  • Determining how much your employer owes you, including unpaid wages or overtime, other out-of-pocket expenses, and penalties. 


What Will It Cost to Hire a Wage and Hour Lawyer?

If your employer (or former employer) already owes you unpaid wages, overtime, pay for breaks you had to work through, or other compensation you never received, you may be wondering whether you can afford to hire a lawyer to help you get your money back. The good news is that employment lawyers representing employees usually charge their clients on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer gets paid only if you win, out of the money you receive as a settlement or award. 

Below, we explain how attorney fees and court costs work in a case for overtime or other unpaid wages. more...