Whether or not your employer offers you vacation time, sick leave, personal days, or paid time off (PTO), you may have a legal right to take time off work for certain reasons under federal and Hawaii law. If you are caring for an ill family member or have just given birth, you may have a right to leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Hawaii laws also gives you other leave rights, including temporary disability leave, leave for jury duty, voting leave, and domestic violence victim leave.
This article provides an overview of your right to time off from work in Hawaii. For more information, see our page on Your Right to Time Off Work.
The federal FMLA gives eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for a seriously ill family member (child, spouse, or parent), to recover from their own serious health conditions, to bond with a new child, or to handle certain matters related to a family member’s military service. The FMLA applies to employers in every state with at least 50 employees. Employees become eligible for FMLA leave once they have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking leave. (See our Taking Family and Medical Leave page for more information about the FMLA.)
Hawaii has its own family and medical leave law, which overlaps with the FMLA. However, the Hawaii Family Leave Law (HFLL) differs from the FMLA in a few important ways. The HFLL applies only to larger employers: those with 100 or more employees. But, the eligibility rules are more relaxed. An employee is eligible if he or she has worked at least six consecutive months for the employer, and there is no minimum number of hours required. This means that part-time, temporary, and on-call workers are eligible for leave under the HFLL.
The HFLL gives eligible employees the right to take up to four weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year. Employees may take HFLL leave to bond with a new child or to care for a spouse, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, sibling, or “reciprocal beneficiary” (essentially a registered domestic partner). An employee may elect to use accrued vacation or PTO for these purposes and must be allowed to use up to ten days of accrued sick leave.
Hawaii also requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to employees who are disabled by pregnancy.
The Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) law gives eligible employees partial wage replacements when they need time off work due to a disabling injury or illness. To be eligible, the employee must have worked in Hawaii for at least 14 weeks (for one or more employers), have received pay for at least 20 hours, and have earned at least $400 in the 52 weeks preceding the first day of disability.
The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) provides a chart showing maximum weekly TDI benefit amounts based on the employee’s wage. The amount a particular employee will receive is determined by the employer’s plan. You can learn more at the DLIR's TDI FAQ page.
Hawaii law requires employers to provide time off for jury duty and prohibits employers from terminating or retaliating against employees for doing so. However, the law does not require employers to pay employees for this time off.
Hawaii also gives employees the right to take time off to vote. Under Hawaii law, if an employee doesn't have sufficient time outside of work hours to vote, he or she may take up to two hours off while the polls are open to cast a ballot. The law prohibits employers from penalizing employees for taking time off to vote, including by rescheduling the employee to make up the voting time or by deducting pay.
Hawaii’s Victims Leave Law provides unpaid leave to victims of domestic violence. The amount of time available depends on the size of the employer. Employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to 30 days of leave. Employers with fewer than 50 employees must provide up to five days of leave. Employees may be entitled to additional leave as a reasonable safety accommodation under certain circumstances. Such accommodation may include allowing time to attend court sessions or treatment, developing a flexible work schedule, or changing the victim’s work contact information.
Employees who need time off for military service are protected by the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which provides up to five years of unpaid time off for active military duty. Hawaii has a similar law that provides unlimited unpaid time off to members of the Hawaii National Guard. For more information, see Taking Military Leave in Hawaii.