Hawaii Family and Medical Leave

Hawaii employees have the right to take family and medical leave under both federal and state law.

By , J.D. UC Berkeley School of Law

Like employers in every state, Hawaii employers must comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave, with the right to reinstatement, for certain reasons.

Hawaii law gives employees additional leave rights, as explained below. Employees are entitled to the protections of all applicable laws; if more than one law applies, the employee may use the most beneficial provisions.

Federal FMLA Rights

Eligible employees in Hawaii may take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious health conditions, bonding with a new child, or preparation for a family member's military service; more leave is available for employees who need to care for a family member who was seriously injured on active military duty. For detailed information on FMLA leave, see Taking Family and Medical Leave.

Who Is Covered?

Hawaii employers must follow the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.

Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:

  • they have worked for the company for at least a year
  • they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and
  • they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Reasons for Leave

FMLA leave is available if an employee needs time off to:

  • bond with a new child
  • recuperate from a serious health condition
  • care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • handle qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member's military service, or
  • care for a family member who suffered a serious injury during active duty in the military. (You can find more information on these last two types of leave in Military Family Leave for Employees.)

How Much Leave Is Available?

Hawaii employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This leave is available every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements explained above.

Employees who need military caregiver leave may take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period. However, this leave is a per-injury, per-service member entitlement. Unless the same family member is injured again, or another family member suffers an injury while on active duty, an employee may not take an additional leave for this purpose.

Leave and Reinstatement Rights

Employees are entitled to continue their health insurance while on leave, at the same cost they must pay while working. FMLA leave is unpaid, but employees may be allowed (or required) to use their accrued paid leave during FMLA leave.

When an employee's FMLA leave ends, the employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with a few exceptions.

Hawaii Family and Medical Leave Laws

In addition to the rights granted by the FMLA, Hawaii employees are protected by state law.

Hawaii Family and Medical Leave

Employers with at least 100 employees must allow eligible employees to take up to four weeks of leave in any calendar year to:

  • care for a family member with a serious health condition (including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, and reciprocal beneficiary), or
  • care for a newly born or adopted child.
If the employer has a sick leave plan, employees must be allowed to use up to ten days of accrued leave for these purposes.

Leave for Pregnancy Disability

Hawaii employers must allow eligible employees to take a reasonable period of leave while they are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. How much time is reasonable is to be determined by the employee's physician.

Hawaii Domestic Violence Leave

Covered employers must allow eligible employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or who have a minor child who is a victim of these crimes, to take a reasonable period of leave to:

  • seek medical attention
  • obtain victim services
  • get counseling
  • temporarily or permanently relocate, or
  • take legal action.

A reasonable period of leave is up to 30 days in a calendar year, if the employer has at least 50 employees. Smaller employers may offer up to five days off in a year.

Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance

Hawaii is one of a handful of states that offers a state temporary disability insurance program. Eligible employees who are unable to work due to a temporary disability (including pregnancy) can receive compensation under the program. Employers may self-insure by adopting a particular type of sick/disability leave program.

For More Information

You can find information on Hawaii's leave programs at the website of the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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