Getting-FiredThere are many people who have lost their jobs since the start of the Great Recession. Many more are still employed but face wage reductions, hourly reductions and income reduction.

Take This Job and Shove It

Hawaii law says that when someone quits, also known as voluntary termination, the employer must pay that person’s remaining wages no later than the next planned pay date. If the person gives notice of quitting one full pay period in advance, then the last pay check is due at the next pay date.

When you choose to quit a job, you are not entitled to unemployment insurance. If you quit your job, this could cause serious problems in bankruptcy court since the separation was voluntary. If you want to leave your job, find another before you quit the current one. Deliberately quitting your job while going through a debt repayment program looks very bad to the court.

Hawaii Law and Layoffs

Hawaii is not a right to work state. At-will employees, such as those that work in a non-union business, can be terminated with cause without a hearing and laid off with unemployment benefits.

Hawaii’s state labor code prohibits people from being laid off due to asserting their rights such as demanding that they be paid overtime if they are classified as an hourly employee or taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act only to be fired for missing work.

If you are in a debt repayment plan and are laid off, you must contact your bankruptcy attorney to file for an adjustment in the debt repayment plan immediately.

You’ve Been Fired

When someone is laid off or fired, also known as involuntary termination, the employer is required to pay the person’s full wages when they are discharged. If for some reason the full wages cannot be paid at that time, such as someone fired on the spot for dangerous pranks or horseplay, the wages must be paid the next work day. If there is another reason that makes payment the next day difficult, such as a need to total up commissions or update a payroll system, the employee’s wages must be paid by the next regular pay day.

When someone has been terminated with cause, they may not be able to receive unemployment. When you’ve been wrongly terminated, you don’t receive unemployment compensation until after the judge finds that your termination was wrongful. This creates a difficult conundrum for those fired by companies trying to avoid paying unemployment, since they have no income while they are fighting for their reputation and unemployment benefits. This often leads to bills piling up and even bankruptcy, since being fired by your prior job makes it hard to get another one. If you’ve been fired, apply for an adjustment to your debt repayment plan immediately, since you may be without an income for some time.

Pay Cuts

Hawaii’s minimum wage is $7.25. Other states set it to match the federal minimum wage. Employers cannot pay you less than the minimum wage, but they do have the option to reduce your hourly wage. The only requirement is that employers tell you about the hourly rate cut before you work at the reduced rate, so that you aren’t surprised by the wage cut.

Hawaii law says that employer must tell employees in writing, though it can be in the form of a flier on a wall, about changes in pay such as reductions in hours worked, unpaid furloughs and reductions in sick pay or holiday pay.  If your pay rate has been reduced, immediately contact your bankruptcy attorney. The payments to your creditors are based on a formula that ensures that you have enough left over to live upon. If your pay rate has been cut 10%, continuing the same payments to creditors may leave you without enough money to pay your bills.

Furloughs and Time Off

Hawaii’s employment law does not cover paid time off, though it is a place everyone would like to visit. Employers can treat furloughs as unpaid time off or a reduction in work hours. If your employer has ordered furloughs without paid time off, contact us immediately to modify your bankruptcy plan.