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||
|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" 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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
Contact a qualified attorney.