Paid Family Leave

Paid Family Leave supports family well-being and the economy.

Zero employees in Hawaiʻi currently have the legal right to Paid Family Leave.
59% of families with children live paycheck to paycheck.

  • 7 in 10 keiki have both married parents, or their single parent, in the workforce, leaving no full-time caregiver.
  • Mothers with paid leave are 39% less likely to receive public assistance after the birth of a child than those without.
  • About 40% of the workforce is providing care for older parents — a figure that continues to increase.
  • 8 states and the District of Colombia have passed paid family leave laws.

What Paid Family Leave could look like in Hawaiʻi

  • All businesses and employees covered
  • 16 weeks of leave
  • Workers restored to the same position
  • Progressive wage replacement: Those who earn less than half of the average weekly wage would receive 90% of their weekly earnings, while middle-income to higher-income workers would receive 50-75% of their weekly earnings, with a weekly cap.

Qualifying reasons for leave:

  • Welcoming a new child (biological, adopted, or foster)
  • Caring for a sick family member or handling own illness/health emergency. Family includes child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner.
  • Employees that have been victims/their family members have been victims of domestic or sexual violence

Paid Family Leave supports family well-being and the economy


  • PFL is associated with a 20% decrease in infant mortality
  • The availability of family leave insurance benefits leads to increased rates of breastfeeding, which has been shown to have long-term health benefits.
  • Increases health equity among different racial and socioeconomic groups
  • Kūpuna deserve high quality care and currently there are not enough licensed care homes/ care home workers to care for the fast growing population of kūpuna here

Economic Security

  • Women who take paid parental leave and return to work are 39% less likely to receive public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps than women who do not take paid leave and return to work.
  • Women are the primary or co-breadwinners for almost two- thirds of families in the U.S., so a woman’s income lost during maternity leave has significant economic impact on her entire family.
  • In Hawaii, the majority of families are “working families” who cannot afford to take unpaid leave long enough to cover their caretaking needs—paid family leave alleviates economic instability for struggling families by ensuring job security.

Business Impact

  • Family leave insurance helps increase worker retention and loyalty. Workers who have access to family leave benefits are more likely to return to work after their leave is over
  • A shared cost (employer/employee), state-run insurance fund, is an affordable solution that takes the burden off small businesses to provide leave and helps them compete against big corporation competitors.

Paid Family Leave is affordable for employers and employees

An actuarial analysis using a simulation model to study the use and cost of family leave insurance for Hawaii found that the annual cost to cover sixteen weeks of leave for a worker making $48,000 would be around $58, averaging out to cost about $1.11 per week.

Funding: 50/50 employer/employee cost split. Employers should have the option of covering the entire insurance premium (estimated to be around $5/ month for the average worker under a social insurance model), but employers may require employees to contribute up to 50% of the premium cost.

What does our family leave currently look like?

  • Covered Employers
    • Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA): 50 or more employees
    • Hawaiʻi Family Leave Law (HFLL): 100 or more employees
  • Eligible Employees
    • FMLA: At least 12 months of employment
    • HFLL: At least 6 months of consecutive employment
  • Qualifying Reasons for Leave
    • FMLA: New child, caring for certain sick relatives, employee’s own illness, military family leave
    • HFLL: New child or caring for certain sick relatives
  • Leave Time Period
    • FMLA: Total of 12 weeks during any 12-month period
    • HFLL: Total of 4 weeks during any calendar year
  • Employment Protection
    • FMLA and HFLL: Restoration
  • Health Benefits
    • FMLA: Benefits maintained as prior to leave
    • HFLL: No specific provision
  • Unpaid or Paid Leave

20,000 federal workers in Hawaiʻi will be receiving paid parental leave under the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act. Signed into law in December 2019, this grants employees up to 12 weeks of paid time off for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a new child, starting in October 2020.


Learn more about the other initiatives in the Hawaiʻi Working Families Coalition.

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