Wage and Hour FAQs

1.  When is overtime compensation required?
Overtime is paid when an employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek.  Hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day is not considered overtime, except when work is performed on a State or county public works construction project.

2.  Can an employer pay compensatory time instead of overtime?
Under Chapter 387, HRS, Wage and Hour Law, there is no provision for compensatory time off.  However, the department recognizes the use of compensatory time or “comp time” in lieu of overtime pay as follows:
1.   The compensatory time is applicable only to employees who are on a salary;
2.   The employee must be allowed to take the compensatory time off within the same pay period in which the overtime is worked; and
3.   The compensatory time is earned at one and one-half times the number of overtime hours worked.

3.  How many hours of work per week is considered full-time and how many hours of work per week is considered part-time?
The criteria for full and part time employee status are not covered by Hawaii’s wage laws.  The designation of full- or part-time employee status is at the discretion of the employer.  If you work at least 20 hours a week there are obligations for your employer to provide certain benefits under the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Law.  For more information on this law see https://labor.hawaii.gov/dcd.

4.  What is the labor law that governs meal breaks?  What are the rest periods between 8 hour work shifts?
In Hawaii, the only requirement for breaks is found in Chapter 390, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), Child Labor Law, which requires employers to provide at least a thirty minute rest or meal period after five consecutive hours of work for fourteen- and fifteen-year-old minors.  An employer’s policy would determine whether or not breaks are provided for other employees.

There is no State law that requires a minimum number of hours in which an employer must provide an employee between their daily 8 hour work shifts.

You may contact the nearest office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, for information on federal laws. The Hawaii office can be reached at (808) 541-1361.

5.  What is the definition of a salaried employee?  Can they be docked pay if they do not work 40 hours a week, even if they worked on Saturdays, Sundays or a Holiday?
Under Section 387-3(1), HRS, of the Wage and Hour Law, “salary” means a predetermined wage, exclusive of the reasonable cost of board, lodging, or other facilities, at which an employee is employed.  Under Section 387-1, HRS, an individual in any capacity who receives a guaranteed compensation of $2,000.00 or more per month, whether paid weekly, biweekly or monthly, or an individual in a bona fide executive, administrative, supervisory or professional capacity, and as defined under Sections 12-20-2 to 12-20-5, Hawaii Administrative Rules, is exempt from the minimum wage, overtime, and record keeping provisions of the law.  When a salaried employee works less than the agreed or required weekly hours due to absence or termination, the employer may prorate the employee’s salary to determine the wages due for that pay period.

You may want to contact the nearest office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, or their Hawaii office at (808) 541-1361, to determine the applicability of the federal Fair Labor Standard Act to your situation.

6.  Can an employer automatically deduct 30 minutes for lunch when an employee does not take their lunch break?
If an employee works through a designated break, the employer is required to compensate the employee for the time as hours worked.

7.  What is the law on holiday pay?
Extra compensation for work not performed, such as on a holiday, is not required by law in Hawaii.  Under Chapter 388, HRS, Payment of Wages and Other Compensation Law, an employer is required to pay for all hours that an employee works, however, any additional pay for work performed on a holiday is at the discretion of the employer.

8.  Is there a minimum number of hours an employer must pay an employee if the employee reports to work and finds out they were taken off the schedule?
Under Chapter 387, HRS, Wage and Hour Law, an employer is required to pay for all hours that an employee is “suffered or permitted to work.”  There is no provision that requires an employer to pay an employee for a canceled shift.  An employer is not required to pay an employee who reports to work and is immediately informed that no work is available and the employee is allowed to leave.  However, if the employee reports to work at his/her scheduled time and is suffered or permitted to wait for work before being informed that no work is available, the employer is required to compensate the employee, at the employee’s regular rate of pay, for the time spent waiting between the employee’s scheduled start time and the time the employee is sent home.

9.  How do I know if my company comes under federal or state wage and hour laws (minimum wage and overtime)?
Generally, retail or service businesses which gross more than $500,000 annually are subject to the federal law.  Also businesses having workers engaged in interstate commerce, producing goods for interstate commerce, or handling or otherwise working on goods of materials that have been moved in or produced for commerce are subject to the federal law.  It also depends on whether the state law has a higher minimum wage or higher overtime standard than the federal law.  Consult with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, to determine if you are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  You may reach their Honolulu office at (808) 541-1361.

10.  How long must an employer keep payroll records and what information must be retained?
Employers must keep records for at least six years.  The employer’s records must contain the following information:  name, home address, social security number, occupation, rate of pay, hours worked each day and each workweek, total straight time and overtime wages, the amount and purpose of additions to or deductions from wages, total wages paid each pay period, date of payment, pay period covered, date of hire, and date of termination.