WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Hawaii

Workplace Protections

January 11, 2024

How much notice do I have to give my employer before taking time off?

Generally, you must give your employer “reasonable notice” that you plan to take time off from work to deal with a situation involving domestic or sexual violence to you or your child.1 For example, if you find out on a Tuesday that you have to go to court on Friday afternoon to testify against your abuser, you should tell your employer on Tuesday, or as soon as possible, that you will need Friday off – don’t wait until Friday morning.

However, there is an exception to the “reasonable notice” requirement if it is not possible to give notice to your employer due to immediate or sudden danger to yourself or your minor child.1

Note: It might be a good idea to ask your employer in writing for the time off to deal with domestic or sexual violence issues and to keep a copy of the letter. This way, if the employer denies you the time off, you have some proof that you asked for it in case you decide to bring legal action against the employer for violating the law.

1 H.R.S. § 378-72(f)

What documentation do I have to give my employer if I want to take time off?

You only have to give your employer written proof (documentation) of the abuse if your employer requests the documentation.

If you are seeking leave for medical treatment, your employer may request that you provide a certificate from a health care provider estimating the number of days necessary and the approximate start date and end date. Before you may return to the office after medical leave, an employer may request a medical certificate from your health care provider stating your condition and approving your return to work.1

If you take five days or less for non-medical reasons, your employer may ask for a signed statement that you or your minor child is a victim of domestic or sexual violence and the leave is for one of the reasons listed in What legal or medical actions, specifically, can I use the time off from work to do?

If the leave is more than five days in a calendar year for a non-medical reason, your employer may ask for any of the following:

  • a certified copy of a restraining order, injunction against harassment, or documents from a criminal case;
  • documentation from a victim services organization or domestic/sexual violence program, including a shelter or safe house for victims of domestic or sexual violence; or
  • documentation from a medical professional, mental health care provider, attorney, advocate, social worker, or member of the clergy who provided help to you or your child related to the domestic or sexual violence.2

If your employer does require certification of your leave, your absence will not be excused until you provide this documentation with your employer. Also, while you are on leave, your employer may require that you check in with him/her at least once a week to confirm that you intend to return to work.3

1 H.R.S. § 378-72(c)
2 H.R.S. § 378-72(d)
3 H.R.S. § 378-72(e), (g)