If you work in Hawaii, you are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off when you can't work due to pregnancy and childbirth. And, Hawaii is one of a small handful of states that provides temporary disability insurance, which pays employees a portion of their wages while they are unable to work due to pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, the Hawaii Family Leave Act requires employers with at least 100 employees to allow employees four weeks off for parenting. These state laws are in addition to the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which gives eligible employees the right to take unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.
There are two types of federal and state laws that might protect you if you need pregnancy leave: laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination and laws that require pregnancy leave.
Hawaii’s Administrative Code prohibits employers from firing an employee because she needs to take time off work due to disability stemming from pregnancy or childbirth. The Code also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees who are temporarily disabled by pregnancy and childbirth.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not require employers to give pregnant employees time off work. However, it does require employers to treat employees who can't work due to pregnancy just as it treats other employees who are temporarily disabled.
Hawaii’s Administrative Code requires all employers, regardless of size, to allow employees to take leave which they are temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. An employee is entitled to take a “reasonable” period of time off, as determined by her physician.
The FMLA gives eligible employees in Hawaii the right to take up to 12 weeks off work in a one-year period for serious health conditions, including pregnancy. The FMLA applies only to employers with at least 50 employees, and employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, for at least 1,250 hours during the past year.
If you qualify, you may use the FMLA to take time off when you are unable to work because of your pregnancy and childbirth. You may also take FMLA leave for prenatal care, including routine check-ups and doctor visits. (The FMLA allows employees to take their leave intermittently, if it’s medically necessary. Learn more about the FMLA, including eligibility requirements, in our article on FMLA leave for pregnancy and disability.)
Hawaii’s Family Leave Act (FLA) gives employees the right to take up to four weeks of parental leave in any calendar year. Although the FLA covers only employers with at least 100 employees, employees are eligible for leave if they have worked only six consecutive months for the employer, with no hours worked requirement.
The FMLA also gives employees the right to take time off to bond with a new child, but they need to have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, for at least 1,250 hours during the past year. The FMLA parenting leave is part of the total 12-week leave entitlement. So, if you use two weeks of FMLA leave during your pregnancy, you will have only ten weeks left to use for parenting leave. If you want to use your parenting leave under the FMLA a little at a time (for example, by working a shorter work day or work week), your employer must agree to it. You aren’t automatically entitled to use your parenting leave intermittently.
If you are married to someone who works for the same company, your employer can limit the total amount of FMLA leave for parenting to 12 weeks for both parents. But whatever portion of your own 12 weeks of FMLA leave you don’t use for parenting will still be available to you for other reasons, including your own serious health condition or qualifying disability. This restriction doesn’t apply to time off under the Hawaii FLA. Hawaii law gives each spouse the right to four weeks off; they do not have to combine their family leave.
Hawaii’s temporary disability insurance (TDI) program provides some wage replacement to employees while they are temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy and childbirth. Learn more about Hawaii’s TDI program, including benefits and eligibility requirements.
FMLA pregnancy and parenting leave is unpaid, but you may ask (or your employer may require you) to use your accrued paid leave (like sick days, vacation, or PTO) to get paid during your time off.
Your employer may also offer maternity, paternity, and/or parenting leave benefits. Talk to your HR representative or manager (and check your employee handbook) to find out what types of leave are available to you.