What is the Minimum Wage for Servers in Hawaii?

Author: Jason Coles

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Updated On:

If you are a server in Hawaii or are considering becoming one, then you should know what the minimum wage is for servers in Hawaii to see if you are being paid the correct amount, or whether this is a job you would like to do.

The laws surrounding the Hawaii minimum wage for servers act as a safety net for those that may not earn enough in tips to meet the minimum wage threshold in the state.

Servers take care of customers with food and beverages in a restaurant or similar type of business where food and drinks are brought to the table by them, and as part of this service, a server will typically receive tips (gratuities) for doing so.

Hawaii servers usually rely less on their hourly wage and more on the generosity of guests to make a reasonable living from being a server.

Server Minimum Wage in Hawaii

So, what is the minimum wage in Hawaii for waiters and waitresses? The minimum cash wage for servers in Hawaii is the same as the tipped minimum wage in Hawaii, which is $12.75 per hour.

This is the minimum per hour that a Hawaii server must be paid and that a Hawaii employer must pay its servers. The graphic below shows the HI server minimum wage rate.

Hawaii Server Minimum Wage 2024 (Minimum Cash Wage and Tip Credits)

$12.75 per hour, is less than the regular minimum wage in Hawaii, but it is still generous when compared with many other states.

However, Hawaii servers are required to be supplemented by their employers via “tipped credit”, which is, in Hawaii’s case, only $1.25 per hour, making the server minimum wage in Hawaii a total of $14.00 per hour.

This is the same as the regular minimum wage in Hawaii which applies to all types of employees that work in the state.

What tipped credits allow employers to do is pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage so long as they can make up the equivalent difference via tips per hour.

Tip credit not only allows server employees to be paid less than the minimum hourly wage, but it generally applies to bartenders, hotel workers, some airport workers, valet car parking attendants, some tourism industry workers, and pretty much any job role where tips are the primary income for the employee.

In Hawaii, servers must be paid a base minimum cash wage of $12.75 per hour. The expectation is that Hawaii servers will make at least an additional $1.25 per hour in tips on average across their pay period. If they do, then the employer is only obligated to pay a Hawaii server $14.00 per hour.

Let’s assume that a server does not make at least $12.75 per hour in tips as an average throughout their pay period (usually two weeks), then the employer must step in and pay the Hawaii server a tip credit of up to $1.25 per hour, so the server makes a minimum of $14.00 per hour for the duration of the pay period or week that they worked.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Tipped Employees

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the FLSA, is a federal law from the U.S. Department of Labor.

This law establishes a national minimum wage, defines classifications for employees, and covers other essential standards and requirements for employers.

Federal law requires that employers make tipped employees aware of the cash wage paid (currently, the national direct hourly salary is $2.13 per hour), let them know about the tip credit, and explain any tip pooling systems at the workplace.

Because Hawaii’s minimum wage rate is higher than the federal minimum wage rate, the state laws supersede the federal regulations.

Hawaii Server Minimum Wage History

The table below showcases the current rate and history of the Hawaii server minimum wage over the past 15+ years since 2008.

You can see when there were increases in the server minimum wage, which includes not only the tipped minimum wage rates but the tipped credit rates too.

StateTipped Server WageTip CreditTotal
Hawaii server minimum wage 2023$11.00$1.00$12.00
Hawaii server minimum wage 2022$9.35$0.75$10.10
Hawaii server minimum wage 2021$9.35$0.75$10.10
Hawaii server minimum wage 2020$9.35$0.75$10.10
Hawaii server minimum wage 2019$9.35$0.75$10.10
Hawaii server minimum wage 2018$9.35$0.75$10.10
Hawaii server minimum wage 2017$8.50$0.75$9.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2016$7.75$0.75$8.50
Hawaii server minimum wage 2015$7.25$0.50$7.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2014$7.00$0.25$7.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2013$7.00$0.25$7.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2012$7.00$0.25$7.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2011$7.00$0.25$7.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2010$7.00$0.25$7.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2009$7.00$0.25$7.25
Hawaii server minimum wage 2008$7.00$0.25$7.25

Final Thoughts

Perhaps the most important takeaway from this is that, as a Hawaii employer, it is your responsibility to pay your servers a minimum hourly rate + tip credit that equals or surpasses the Hawaii minimum wage in the event that your servers do not earn enough to meet the $14.00 per hour threshold.

Failing to do so will be breaking federal and state laws. Equally, it is important that as a server working in Hawaii, you know your rights and how much you should be paid with your hourly wage and tip credits.

If you have specific questions about the laws surrounding the minimum wage for servers (tipped employees) from both an employer and employee perspective, you can contact the Hawaii Wage Standards Division. Additionally, if you are an employee who isn’t being paid what you legally should be, you can file a complaint with them too.

Minimum Wage Rates for each State

Hawaii

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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,365 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.