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Hawaii FMLA

Covering All Employees:

Maternity Leave

Female employees may leave "for a reasonable period of time", determined by the employee's physician, any debilitating conditions involving childbirth or pregnancy. The employer may request certification for leave, and the employee must be restored to her prior employment concluding the leave.

Civil Unions

Civil Unions, allowed since January 1st, 2012, makes all "partners to a civil union... have all the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities under law" (Act 1 of Senate Bill 232), meaning all leave laws cover those in civil unions.

Covering State Employees:

State employees in the executive branch may be eligible for leave under a shared leave program for:

  • Recovering from a serious personal illness or injury.
  • Caring for a family member who has a serious person illness or injury and is incapable of self-care.

Covering Certain Public-Sector and Private-Sector Employees:

Coverage & Eligibility

Hawaii's Family Leave Law covers private and public employers that employ 100 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. Cover employees include those who perform services for hire for at least six consecutive months for the employer the employee is requesting leave from.

Family, Paid & Unpaid Leave

Eligible employees are entitled to a total of four weeks of family leave during any calendar year (may be used intermittently) for:

  • Birth or adoption of a child.
  • To care for an employee's child, spouse, reciprocal beneficiary or parent with a serious health condition.

Regarding family leave:

  • It can be paid, unpaid or a combination of both.
  • If an employer provides paid leave for less than four weeks, unpaid leave may be added to reach the four-week total.
  • Employers must let employees use their accrued and available sick leave for family leave purposes.
  • Paid sick leave is limited to 10 days per year unless a collective bargaining agreement providers for the use of more.
  • Both the employee or employer may elect to substitute any of the employee's other accrued paid leave (vacations, personal, family leave, etc.) for any part of the four-week period if legally allowable and agreeable upon both parties.

Employers may require medical certification for any requested family leave, including:

  • Certification for the birth of a child issued by a health care provider or family court.
  • Certification of the placement or adoption of a child with the employee.
  • Certification of a serious health condition of a child, spouse or parent by a health care provider.


As used in all accompanying Hawaiian laws, the following words are defined as:

  • "child" – step-child, foster child, adopted child or legal ward.
  • "parent" – a biological, foster or adoptive parent, parent-in-law, step-parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or grandparent-in-law.
  • "reciprocal beneficiary" – an adult with whom the employee has entered a legal partnership because he or she is not permitted to marry legally. This may include (but is not limited to) same-sex couples, adult brothers and sisters, widowed parents, adult children, aunts, uncles, nieces or nephews
  • "serious health condition" – a physical or mental condition requiring the employee's participation to provide care during the inpatient or continuing care treatment supervised by a health care provider


All employees returning from leave must be reinstated to their original position or something equivalent with equal benefits and pay, but employees do not accrue any seniority or benefits during their leave and they cannot lose any benefits accrued prior to the leave. If the employer has experienced a layoff or reduction in force during an employee's leave and the employee would have lost the position if he or she were working, the employee is not entitled to reinstatement in the former or equivalent position.

Laws for FMLA in Hawaii

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