Paid Family Leave Laws

There are two family leave laws that Hawaii workers can take advantage of:

  • Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)
  • Hawaii Family Leave Law (HI FLA)

If you qualify for both federal FMLA and HI Family Leave, both leave periods will run concurrently. 

Federal Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)

FMLA provides leave to care for a:

  • Child (who is under the age of 18 or incapable of self-care due to a physical or mental disability)
  • Spouse
  • Parent (including a biological, adoptive, foster, or step-parent, or any other person who stood "in loco parentis” but not including a parent-in-law)

FMLA eligibility includes:

  • All public employers and private employers who employ 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. 
  • ​​Employees must have worked for a covered employer for at least one year and have worked for that employer for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months. 

FMLA provisions:

Up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or childbirth
  • To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform their job
  • For certain needs in connection with a loved one's military deployment
  • If medically necessary, employees caring for a seriously ill loved one may be able to take this time in smaller chunks, spread out over time, rather than all at once

FMLA Protections:

  • Job and Seniority: Upon return from FMLA leave, nearly all employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms. Rare exceptions to this rule are explained here
  • Benefits: During FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage and continue paying any share of their health insurance premium under any “group health plan” on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work.
  • FMLA rights: An employer can’t punish an employee in any way for using their FMLA rights and can’t interfere with the employees ability to use their rights under the law.

How to apply for FMLA:

  • Notify your employer of your need for leave. You'll need to get your loved one's health care provider to certify their health condition and need for care. Your employer will then provide you with notices and forms to fill out and return to them. 
  • If you know in advance when your leave will start, tell your employer at least 30 days before that date. If you can’t do so or don’t know in advance, tell your employer as soon as possible.

Detailed information about Federal FMLA, visit the US Department of Labor website

Hawaii Family Leave Act (HI FLA)

The state of Hawaii expands on the Federal FMLA law with:

  • A broader definition of “family member”

Hawaii provides FLA leave to care for a:

HI FLA eligibility includes:

  • Employees who work for employers with 100 or more employees in at least 20 calendar weeks of the current or preceding calendar year.
  • Employees must have worked for the employer for at least six consecutive months

HI FLA provisions:

Up to four (4) weeks of unpaid family leave each calendar year

  • for the birth or adoption of a child
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition.

HI FLA protections:

  • Job protection: In general, your employer is required to restore you to your original or equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.

How to apply for FLA in Hawaii:

  • To apply for HI and/or federal FMLA, notify your employer of your need for leave. They’ll provide you with notices and forms to fill out and return to them.

Visit the Hawaii.gov website for the most current details about Hawaii  family leave policies. 

The information on this page should not be considered legal advice. Other protections may apply in your specific situation. 

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