This article compares the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), which was effective August 5, 1993, and the Hawaii Family Leave Law (“HFLL”), which was generally effective on February 5, 1994.
Employer Coverage: FMLA covers employers of 50 or more employees in at least 20 weeks of the current or preceding year. HFLL covers employers with one hundred (100) or more employees working at least each working day for twenty (20) weeks.
Employee Eligibility: An employee is eligible for FMLA leave where s/he has worked for a covered employer at least 1,250 hours in the preceding twelve (12) months and employed for at least twelve (12) months; and employed at worksite by an employer with fifty (50) or more employees within seventy-five (75) miles of that worksite. Under the HFLL an employee is eligible for HFLL after being employed six (6) months with a covered employer from whom leave is sought. Under Hawaii law, there is no hourly requirement.
Leave Required: Under FMLA the eligible employee is entitled to 12 weeks during a 12-month period. Under HFLL, the eligible employee is entitled to four (4) weeks leave each calendar year, not to exceed four (4) weeks in a twelve (12) month period.
Medical Coverage: Under FMLA, the employee is entitled to continue medical coverage under the group health plan. Under HFLL, the employee is not entitled to continue medical coverage under the group health plan.
Purpose of Leave: Under FMLA the eligible employee may take leave for the birth/adoption/care for his/her child, the employee’s spouse, or parent with serious medical condition, in addition to the employee’s own serious health condition. Under HFLL the eligible employee may take leave for the birth/adoption/care for their child or care for their spouse or parent with a serious medical condition. Under HFLL the employee may to take leave for his/her own serious health condition.
Definition of Parent: Under FMLA, “parent” means the employee’s biological parent or those in loco parentis. HFLL has a more expansive definition insofar as it includes biological, foster or adoptive parents, in-laws, stepparents, guardians, grandparents; and grandparents-in-law.
Intermittent Leave: Under FMLA, intermittent leave is permitted only for a serious health condition when medically necessary, and not permitted for birth or adoption unless the employer agrees. Under HFLL, intermittent leave is permitted under all circumstances.
Reinstatement at End of Leave: Both federal and Hawaii law generally require the employee to be restored to the same and equivalent position in all terms and conditions.