Wage & Hour Laws -- Employee

Hawaii Wage Laws

State Employment Laws vs. Federal

How does a Hawaii employee or employer know which employment laws to follow — the State laws or the federal laws? The laws do not differ all that much, but nevertheless, it is important to know which you fall under. If a business grosses over $500,000 a year, the employer is subject to federal employment laws, known as the Fair Labor Standards Act. They are also subject to the FLSA if they employ workers who produce goods for interstate commerce, or are engaged in any type of interstate commerce, or handle or work in merchandise manufactured or made for commerce.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Hawaii is $7.50 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2015. In 2014, the minimum wage was on $7.25 per hour, and has been stagnant at that amount since 2007. The minimum wage will be increased again on Jan. 1, 2016, to $8.50 per hour, again on Jan. 1, 2017, to $9.25 per hour, and once again on Jan 1, 2018, to $10.10 per hour.

When employees are subject to the state minimum wage law and the federal minimum wage, they will be paid the highest of the two. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25; therefore, employees in Hawaii should be paid a minimum of $7.50.


In Hawaii, overtime is paid for any employee that works in excess of 40 hours in one work-week. The employee should be paid one and a half times one's wages for the additional hours worked. An employee can work more than eight hours a day, and that does not count as overtime unless they are in excess of the 40-hour work-week. However, an exception applies to employees working on state or county public construction projects; they are entitled to overtime pay for any time worked after eight hours in a day, as well as overtime pay for weekends and state holidays.

Some employers want to offer their employees compensatory time in lieu of overtime pay, also known as comp time. This is only allowed under the following guidelines:


  • Must be a salaried employee.


  • Comp time is permitted to be taken in the same pay period it is earned in.


  • Comp time is one and a half times the hours worked.

    What Is Considered Part-Time Work?

    Hawaii does not have any laws or regulations regarding specific criteria for what is considered part- or full-time employment. This is at the discretion of the employer to decide. However, employers must provide certain health benefits to employees who work more than 20 hours a week.

    What Should You Do if You Are Not Being Paid the Minimum Wage or Earned Overtime Pay?

    If you believe your employee has violated the Hawaii Wage and Hour Laws, you should file a complaint of your alleged violations with the Wage Standards Division. For instance, your employer is having you work overtime, but only paying you regular salary, or they have been paying you less than the state minimum wage. If back wages are owed, you may seek an attorney to assist in fighting for what you have rightfully earned.

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