Hawaii's Payment of Wages Statute

Hawaii’s Payment of Wages law, HRS Chapter 388, does not address the minimum wage or circumstances under which overtime pay is earned. Rather, HRS Chapter 388 addresses how -- and how often -- employees should be paid.

Frequency of Pay

Under the statute, every employer must pay all wages due to its employees at least twice during each calendar month. Pay days must be designated in advance by the employer and may not be more than seven days after each pay period ends.

Employers wishing to establish regular pay days less frequently than semimonthly (but at least once a month) must apply to the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (“DLIR”) for permission to do so. Employers who want to issue paychecks more than seven days (but within fifteen days) after the close of the payroll period must also receive permission from the DLIR.

Payout After Job Termination

Employees whose employment is terminated -- for any reason, with or without "cause" -- are entitled to receive payment for all wages earned up to the date of termination, at the time of termination. However, if the termination occurs at a time and under conditions that prevent the employer from making immediate payment, the payment is due the next working day after the termination.

Employees who resign must receive payment for all wages earned as of the date of resignation, no later than the next regular payday. Payment can be made through regular channels or by mail if the employee requests. If the employee gives at least one pay period's advance notice of resignation, the employer must pay all wages earned on the employee's last day of work.

Suspension or Lay Off

If an employee is suspended as a result of a labor dispute (strike) or is laid off, the employer must pay all wages earned as of the date of the suspension or layoff no later than the next regular pay day. Payment can be made through regular channels or by mail if requested by the employee.

Pay Disputes

If there is a dispute between an employer and employee over the amount of wages due, the employer must pay, without condition and within the time limits set by law, all wages the employer believes are due. In other words, the employer must pay at least the undisputed amount. The employee is then entitled to take appropriate action for any balance he or she claims is still due.

An employer may not condition payment of any wages already earned and due on execution of a release by an employee. Furthermore, acceptance by an employee of any payment does not automatically constitute a release or accord and satisfaction of any dispute between the employer and employee over amounts due.

Wage Deductions

Employers may not deduct, retain, or otherwise require an employee to pay back any compensation earned by the employee except if it is required by federal or state law, ordered by a court, or authorized in writing by the employee.

The following may not be deducted from an employee's wages (regardless of whether it is authorized) or required to be borne by the employee:

  • fines
  • cash shortages from a common money till, cash box, or register used by two or more persons; or cash shortages in a money till, cash box, or register under sole control of the employee, if the employee is not given an opportunity to account for all monies received at the start of a shift and all monies turned in at the end of a shift
  • fines, penalties or replacement costs for breakage
  • losses due to an employee's acceptance of checks which are subsequently dishonored if the employee is given discretion to accept or reject any check
  • losses due to defective or faulty workmanship, lost or stolen property, damage to property, default of customer credit, or nonpayment for goods or service received by a customer unless the losses are attributable to the employee’s willful or intentional disregard of his/her employer’s interests, or
  • medical or physical examinations or medical report expenses which accrue due to services rendered to an employee or prospective employee, where such examination or report is requested or required by the employer or prospective employer or required by any law or regulation of federal, state or local governments or agencies.
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