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Hawaii Overtime Laws

Working construction on the islands can be a great paying job. Working construction for a public-works project can be even better. While most employees in Hawaii are only entitled to overtime pay after working 40 hours in a week, some government contractors are entitled to overtime after an eight-hour day, and for any work on weekends or holidays.

When computing overtime pay, employers in Hawaii must follow both state and federal laws. This can get confusing and sometimes even the best bosses get the rules wrong. It's a good idea to be familiar with Hawaii overtime laws to make sure you're fully compensated at work.

Hawaii Overtime Law Summary

This chart highlights key provisions of Hawaii overtime laws.

State and Federal Statutes
Hawaii Overtime Rules
  • Laborers and mechanics working on government construction projects receive overtime pay after working 8 hours a day, on weekends or holidays
  • Agriculture workers exempt from state overtime are covered by federal rules if they produce goods sold out of state
  • Most overtime is calculated based on the number of hours worked on a weekly basis
  • Employees earning over $2,000 a month are exempt from state and federal overtime laws
  • 2-year time limit to file wage claim, 3 years for a willful violation.
Filing a Wage Complaint

Note: State laws are subject to change. It's important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with a Hawaii attorney.

Hawaii Overtime Laws

In Hawaii, any "covered" or "nonexempt" employee that works longer than 40 hours in a workweek must be paid 1.5 times their standard rate for excess hours. Although blue collar workers are generally entitled to overtime pay under Hawaii law, the state recognizes several exemptions including:

  • Certain agricultural employees
  • Specified domestic service employees
  • Workers employed by family members
  • Certain employees relating to propagating, catching, farming aquatic animals or vegetable life
  • Seamen
  • Some drivers of vehicles carrying passengers
  • Golf caddies

Agriculture Exemption from Overtime Pay

Hawaii exempts from local overtime pay rules any employee working in the dairy, sugar cane, agricultural, livestock/poultry, or horticultural processing industries. However, nearly all employees engaged in agriculture are covered by the federal overtime laws when goods are produce for sale out of state (for interstate commerce). Since employers must follow the rule that provides the most benefits, the federal overtime rule frequently applies to Hawaii's agriculture industry.

Federal rules exempt the following agriculture workers from overtime pay:

  • Employees who are immediate family members of their employer
  • Those mostly working on the range in the production of livestock
  • Local hand-harvest laborers who commute daily from their permanent residence, are paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, and were engaged in agriculture less than 13 weeks during the preceding calendar year
  • Non-local minors, 16 years of age or under, who are hand harvesters, paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, employed on the same farm as their parent, and paid the same piece rate as those over 16

Overtime Exemption for Higher Wage Earners

Anyone living on the islands knows the cost of living is high. If you earn minimum wage it can be hard to cover your expenses. However both state and federal laws (as of 2017) exempt workers from overtime pay with a guaranteed income of more than $2,000 a month. Employees earning under $455 per week (or $23,660 per year) are nonexempt.

Overtime on Public Works Construction Projects

Every public works construction project valued over $2,000 and involving a state or county government contract is covered by Hawaii's prevailing wage overtime law. It does not matter if the contract was awarded through a formal bid process, purchase order voucher, or lease arrangement.

All hours worked over eight in a single day, on the weekend, or on a legal holiday must be paid at a rate of 1.5 times the employee's regular rate. The value of an employee's benefits is included when determining the overtime rate.

Who is Covered by Federal Overtime Laws?

Many employees that are exempt from overtime under the state law are covered by the federal rules found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA protects employees of businesses or enterprises with annual sales of more than $500,000, or that operates in interstate commerce, as well as schools, hospitals, or other emergency health care facility.

An employee's job can be considered exempt from federal overtime laws when the specific job duties and salary level meet all the requirements set by the U.S. Department of Labor. The following types of jobs are frequently exempt from federal overtime rules:

  • Executive
  • Administrator
  • Computer employee (not exempt under state law)
  • Outside Salespeople
  • Learned professional, such as a CPA, lawyer, some registered nurses

Discuss Your Employment Dispute with a Hawaii Lawyer

If your employer is denying you overtime benefits, it may be tempting to just let it go. If talking to your boss directly doesn't resolve the situation, you have legal options. An experienced local attorney can negotiate for you, and help recover lost wages and any damages caused by the failure to pay overtime. Discuss your case with an experienced employment lawyer today.

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