Hawaii Minimum Wage: Minimum Wage in Hawaii for 2024

March 4, 2024

Has the recent update to the Hawaii minimum wage left you pondering its implications for your business? Understanding the nuances of this change is crucial for ensuring your restaurant or business thrives in a competitive market.

This blog will guide you through what you need to know about the minimum wage in Hawaii for 2024, offering insights and strategies tailored to help your business adapt and succeed.

What is the Minimum Wage in Hawaii?

As of January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Hawaii has seen an adjustment, setting the standard at $14.00 per hour. This update is part of a structured plan to gradually increase wages, as detailed in Act 114, Session Laws of Hawaiʻi (2022). The journey toward this increase began on January 1, 2018, with the wage at $10.10 per hour and saw an intermediate rise on October 1, 2022, to $12.00 per hour. 

Looking ahead, further increases are scheduled for January 1, 2026, to $16.00 per hour and January 1, 2028, to $18.00 per hour, marking a significant progression in the state’s approach to minimum wage.

Historical Minimum Wage Rates in Hawaii

From 2014 through 2024, we've witnessed a gradual increase in the minimum wage, reflecting the state's commitment to adjusting earnings in line with economic changes. Here's a brief overview:

2014: $7.25

2015: $7.75

2016: $8.50

2017: $9.25

2018-2021: $10.10 (steady)

2022: $12.00

2023: $12.00

2024: $14.00

This incremental rise illustrates a deliberate approach to enhancing workers’ pay, culminating in a significant jump to $14.00 this year.

Source: Labor Law Center

Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees in Hawaii

Starting January 1, 2024, tipped employees may be paid $1.25 less than the standard minimum wage. This adjustment will increase to $1.50 below the minimum wage by January 1, 2028. However, this pay structure is contingent upon the total earnings of the employee—wages plus tips—exceeding the minimum wage by at least $7.00.

This approach, known as the tip credit system, allows employers to count a portion of the tips received by employees towards the minimum wage obligation. The application of tip credit is subject to strict regulations to ensure that employees’ total earnings do not fall below the minimum wage threshold. Employers are encouraged to consult the Tip Credit Notice and Easy Reference Guide for detailed guidelines on utilizing the tip credit.

Hawaii Minimum Wage Exemptions

Hawaii's minimum wage exemptions include several categories that align with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and some that are unique to Hawaii under Chapter 387, HRS. These exemptions are integral to understanding federal and state wage and hour laws. Here’s a list of these exemptions, indicating whether they also exist under the FLSA:

  • Workers receiving guaranteed compensation of $2,000 monthly (unique to Hawaii)

  • Agriculture operations with fewer than 20 employees (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Coffee harvesting activities (unique to Hawaii)

  • Casual domestic service in or about the employer's home (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Companionship services for the aged or infirm in the employer's home (also exempt under FLSA)

  • House parents in charity homes (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Immediate family members, including siblings, children, and parents (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Executive, administrative, supervisory, professional, outside salespersons, or collectors (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Individuals involved in fishing, farming fish, or other sea life (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Workers on ships, vessels, or in the Merchant Marine (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Taxi-cab drivers (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Golf caddies (unique to Hawaii)

  • Nonprofit school students working at their institution (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Those considered employees under the FLSA (unique to Hawaii)

  • Seasonal youth camp staff at camps sponsored by charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations (also exempt under FLSA)

  • Car salespeople (also exempt under FLSA)

This list highlights the exemptions per Chapter 387, HRS, and their comparison with FLSA exemptions, showcasing the areas where state law diverges from federal standards, particularly in the unique exemptions for guaranteed compensation and coffee harvesting.

Overtime Pay in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the rules for overtime pay are established to ensure fair compensation for employees working beyond standard hours, promote employer compliance, and facilitate strategic workforce planning. Here’s an outline based on the referenced legal sections (§387-3 and §104-2):

Who is Eligible for Overtime Pay?

Most employees in Hawaii are eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime pay is calculated at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee’s regular pay rate. The regular rate calculation can vary based on whether the employee is salaried or receives other forms of compensation, such as commissions or bonuses.

Exemptions from Overtime

Certain exemptions exist under Hawaiian law, including:

  • Employers engaged in specific agricultural activities, processing of dairy products, sugar cane, or in the first processing of or canning/packing agricultural commodities are not required to pay overtime up to 20 workweeks per year, chosen by the employer, as long as overtime is paid for hours exceeding 48 in those weeks.

  • Employees of air carriers under the Railway Labor Act are exempt if overtime results from voluntary work time exchanges among employees.

  • Specific regulations apply for the construction of public work projects exceeding $2,000, including the requirement for paying no less than prevailing wages and following stipulated overtime compensation rules. This includes non-work on weekends and holidays unless compensated at overtime rates.

Calculating Overtime for Salaried Employees

The calculation method for determining the regular pay rate for salaried employees involves dividing the salary by the number of hours the salary is intended to cover (typically 40 hours for a full workweek). This calculation adjusts if the employee also earns additional wages through other means. The aim is to ensure that the overtime rate accurately reflects the employee's total compensation.

Special Provisions

  • The law stipulates that laborers and mechanics on public work projects must be paid prevailing wages and receive overtime for any work performed on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or beyond eight hours on any day.

  • For contracts involving public work, it is mandatory to include provisions that ensure compliance with wage and hour requirements, ensuring that workers receive the correct overtime compensation.

These rules are designed to protect workers by ensuring they are fairly compensated for overtime while providing frameworks that help employers plan and comply with the regulations. Employers must carefully follow these guidelines to avoid penalties and ensure employees are paid fairly for overtime work.

Hawaii State Minimum Wage vs Federal Minimum Wage

Understanding the distinction between the federal and state minimum wage rates is crucial for employers in Hawaii. This differentiation ensures businesses comply with legal standards while supporting their workforce.

Let’s break down the differences and how they apply to your business.

Federal Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage, established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is $7.25 per hour for most nonexempt workers. The base rate for employees who earn tips is $2.13 per hour, but their total earnings with tips must at least equal the federal minimum wage. 

If the total does not reach $7.25, employers are required to make up the difference. The FLSA also outlines workers' rights and employers' responsibilities, with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division ensuring compliance.

State Minimum Wage

States, including Hawaii, may set minimum wages exceeding the federal rate, with local laws taking precedence when they offer more favorable conditions to the employee. This dual system ensures that workers benefit from the highest applicable minimum wage. Employers, especially in the restaurant industry, must stay informed about both federal and state wage laws, as differences may also apply to tipped workers, potentially affecting operational payroll planning.

Hawaii Minimum Wage & Labor Law Posters

Hawaii mandates that employers prominently display the latest Labor Law Poster to ensure compliance and foster a transparent work environment. These posters serve to inform your employees about their rights and your obligations under the law, contributing to a transparent and fair workplace.

Required Labor Law Posters include:

  1. Labor Law Poster (Complete): A comprehensive overview of state labor laws.

  2. Disability Compensation Law: Information on employee rights under the disability compensation system.

  3. Laws Prohibiting Employment Discrimination: Details on the prohibition of employment discrimination.

  4. Occupational Safety & Health Laws: Guidelines on maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.

  5. Required Notice to Dislocated Workers/Plant Closings: Information on rights and procedures for dislocated workers.

  6. Unemployment Insurance Law: Details on eligibility and benefits of unemployment insurance.

  7. Wage and Hour Law: Information on minimum wage, overtime, and other wage-related laws.

Additional Postings (Not Enforced by DLIR):

  1. Whistle Blower Law

  2. Breastfeeding in the Workplace

  3. Act 245 (SLH, 2013)

Ensuring these posters are visible in your establishment not only keeps you compliant but also supports a culture of awareness and respect for workers' rights.

Implications for Restaurant Owners

As the minimum wage in Hawaii adjusts, you must critically assess how this shift impacts your business model. Here are key areas to consider:

1. Budget Reassessment

The recent change in Hawaii’s minimum wage necessitates thoroughly reassessing your budget. The increase in labor costs might mean reevaluating your operational expenses and identifying areas where efficiency can be improved. 

Consider conducting a detailed analysis of your current financials to determine where adjustments can be made to accommodate the higher wage without compromising the quality of your service or your profitability.

2. Pricing Strategy Review

Another area that requires attention is your pricing strategy. With labor costs increasing, consider adjusting your menu prices. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance that reflects the new expenses while still providing value to your customers. This might involve analyzing your menu offerings, evaluating the cost-effectiveness of your ingredients, and perhaps introducing higher-margin items that align with your customer’s preferences and willingness to pay.

3. Employee Retention

Interestingly, the minimum wage increase can be a powerful tool for employee retention. Higher wages can boost job satisfaction, leading to lower turnover rates and, subsequently, reduced costs associated with hiring and training new staff. By investing in your team, you’re not only enhancing their loyalty to your business but also improving the overall customer experience through more knowledgeable and engaged staff.

In navigating these changes, your adaptability as a restaurant owner is key. Embracing these shifts with strategic planning and execution can transform the challenge of the increased Hawaii minimum wage into an opportunity for growth and improvement in your establishment.

The Impact of the Recent Minimum Wage Increase on Your Business

Here's how the changes might affect your business operations and what you can do to mitigate potential challenges.

1. Increased Operating Costs

With the recent increase in the Hawaii minimum wage, your business will likely experience a rise in payroll expenses. This surge in operating costs necessitates innovative financial strategies to maintain, if not improve, your profit margins. Efficiently managing these expenses could involve reevaluating your budget allocations and seeking cost-saving measures in other areas of your operations.

2. Shift in Workforce Dynamics

Adjusting to the new minimum wage in Hawaii might also mean rethinking your staffing strategy. The increase could lead to reevaluating the number of employees you need and their working hours. Optimizing your workforce is crucial to balancing enhanced employee satisfaction with controlled labor costs. This might involve investing in employee training to improve efficiency or adopting more flexible staffing models.

3. Customer Pricing Sensitivity

In response to the increased labor costs, you may consider adjusting your pricing. However, it’s essential to navigate this carefully, considering your customers' price sensitivity. Striking the right balance between covering your increased costs and retaining customer loyalty requires a strategic approach. You might need to explore ways to add value to your offerings or enhance customer experience without significantly hiking prices.

Understanding and adapting to the changes in the Hawaii minimum wage is essential for your business's sustainability and growth. By addressing these challenges head-on, you can position your business for success in a competitive market.

Strategies for Restaurant Businesses to Adapt to the Recent Minimum Wage Increase

With the recent update to the Hawaii minimum wage, you must look for innovative ways to maintain profitability without compromising service quality. Here’s how:

1. Efficiency Improvements

The first step in adapting to the increased Hawaii minimum wage is streamlining your operations. By identifying inefficiencies and implementing lean practices, you can significantly reduce waste and enhance productivity. This proactive approach not only compensates for the higher labor costs but also improves the overall functionality of your restaurant.

2. Innovative Staffing Solutions

Adopting flexible staffing models is another effective strategy. Cross-training employees to perform multiple roles ensures that your workforce is more adaptable and can cover various tasks as needed. This versatility minimizes the need for a larger staff, helping to manage wage expenses more effectively.

3. Restaurant Technology Adoption

Leveraging technology can significantly reduce your dependency on manual labor. Here’s how:

4. Menu Optimization

Revising your menu to focus on high-margin items can help offset the impact of increased labor expenses. Analyze your restaurant's profit margin and the cost of goods sold (COGS) to identify which items yield the best return. Prioritizing these items can help maintain profitability without sacrificing quality.

5. Customer Experience Enhancement

Lastly, differentiating your restaurant through superior customer service or unique offerings can justify necessary price adjustments. By enhancing the dining experience, customers are more likely to perceive value in your pricing, supporting your business through this transition.


The recent changes to the Hawaii minimum wage are a significant development for restaurant owners and employers in the state. By understanding the implications of these changes and adopting strategic responses, you can ensure that your business not only complies with the new regulations but also continues to grow and succeed.

To further support your journey through industry changes, consider scheduling a consultation with Chowbus POS. Our comprehensive restaurant technology solution is specifically designed to enhance operational efficiency and increase revenue. With our platform, you could potentially reduce your monthly labor expenses by over $8,000 and achieve a business growth of 25%. Save time and reduce costs with our innovative platform! Book a demo today!

All-in one Hardware

Frequently Asked Questions About the Minimum Wage in Hawaii

This FAQ section clarifies the current minimum wage standards in Hawaii, including specifics for 2024 and the rate applicable in Oahu.

What is a Livable Salary in Hawaii?

The amount needed to live comfortably in Hawaii differs based on the number of people in a household. A single person needs to earn $27.33 hourly to cover living expenses. For a household with two working adults and two children, each adult should earn $35.41 hourly. These rates account for Hawaii's elevated living costs, including housing, food, and transportation.

What is Hawaii Minimum Wage 2024?

As of January 1, 2024, Hawaii's minimum wage has risen to $14 per hour.

What is Oahu Minimum Wage?

The minimum wage in Oahu, as well as throughout all of Hawaii, increased to $14 per hour on January 1, 2024. This rate applies uniformly across Honolulu, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, and Kalawao Counties.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. We strive to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information contained herein based on the latest available data as of our publication date. However, minimum wage laws and regulations are subject to change. Employers and business owners are encouraged to consult with a qualified legal professional for personalized advice and to verify the current status of applicable laws and regulations related to minimum wage and labor practices in Hawaii.

Recommended Articles: