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Legal Information: Hawaii

Workplace Protections

May 28, 2020

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 (written proof) do I have to give my employer if I want to take time off?

You only have to give your employer documentation (written proof) 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 a signed, written statement from a victim services organization, attorney, advocate, or a medical professional that has provided you or your minor child assistance. A police or court record about the domestic or sexual violence is also sufficient.2

If your employer does require certification of your leave, your absence will not be excused until you provide this documentation with your employer.3 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.4

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