Wage and Hour Blog
Dolley Law LLC


Hawaii Wage and Hour Laws

Many wage and hour issues and disputes are common from state to state across the United States, including in Hawaii. Hawaii’s Wage and Hour Law is substantially similar to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), but it is not identical. Retaining an attorney with a broad base of knowledge and experience in wage and hour matters is the best first step you can take to fully understand the nature and scope of your rights and protections under the law. Do not hesitate to reach out to Dolley Law to discuss whether our Firm can provide you the legal guidance or representation you need.

Hawaii Minimum Wage

Hawaii’s Wage and Hour Law sets forth the minimum wage rates applicable in Hawaii. See HRS § 387-2. Since January 1, 2018, the minimum wage rate in Hawaii has been $10.10 per hour, which is significantly higher than the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour under FLSA. Id.; 29 U.S.C. § 206.

Like most other states, Hawaii also recognizes that tipped employees may receive a reduced hourly rate of pay prior to counting tips. See HRS § 387-2. Under the FLSA, employers may pay tipped employees an hourly rate as low as $2.13 excluding tips, so long as the average hourly rate in the workweek (when tips are included toward total compensation) meets or exceeds the applicable minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour; however, under Hawaii wage and hour law, the rule is different in several respects.

In Hawaii, employers can only take a tip credit—that is, count tips toward the hourly wage—if the employee is paid not less than $0.75 below the applicable minimum wage and the combined amount the employee receives in wages and tips is at least $7.00 more than the applicable minimum wage. Id. Currently, this means an employer can only claim a tip credit where the employer, among other things, pays its employees at least $9.35 per hour. Id.

Hawaii Overtime

Hawaii’s Wage and Hour Law also sets forth its own overtime provision. See HRS § 387-3. This law essentially sets forth the same general rule for determining overtime as the FLSA: “[n]o employer shall, except as otherwise provided in this section, employ any employee for a workweek longer than forty hours unless the employee receives overtime compensation for the employee’s employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which the employee is employed.” Id.

Equal Pay

Hawaii has its own anti-discrimination law regarding employee pay. See HRS § 387-4. The FLSA, along with many states, prohibits wage differences based on sex. See 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). A few other states prohibit discrimination in employee pay based upon any protected class. Hawaii’s pay anti-discrimination law falls somewhere between these two: it prohibits discrimination in pay “between persons of different races or religions or as between the sexes.” See HRS § 387-4.

Potential Liabilities

Hawaii law provides that any employer who violates its minimum wage or overtime laws “shall be liable to the employee or employees affected in the amount of their unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation, and in case of wilful [sic] violation in an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.” See HRS § 387-12. An employee may file a civil action to recover these amounts, individually or on behalf of a group of employees. Id. If the employee prevails in such an action, the court must allow a reasonable attorney’s fee to be paid by the employer, along with the costs of the action. Id.

Contact Us

Our attorneys are ready to discuss with you your wage and hour issue. Our Firm has the knowledge and experience in wage and hour matters to help you understand what your needs are and how we may be able to assist you in achieving your goals. To learn more and discuss the possibility of legal representation, call us by telephone at (314) 645-4100 or contact us by email at kevin@dolleylaw.com