U Memo 10-4

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 10-4
December 4, 2009
Vacation Credit Liabilities

The Chair of a legislative committee appealed a denial of access by the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to certain information concerning the offices’ vacation credit liabilities for individual employees. To best utilize government resources, OIP provided guidance to both offices regarding disclosure, and the information was provided requested in the desired form. OIP was subsequently asked for a written opinion. 

Accordingly, OIP provided a general advisory opinion on two issues as follows:

(1) Whether an agency may withhold information regarding vacation credit liabilities for identified exempt employees

The information requested would allow (1) identification of employees; (2) the amount of vacation hours that each had accrued; and (3) the dollar value of those vacation hours, which OIP understands would reflect their current salaries. The UIPA requires an agency to disclose the name of employees and the exact compensation for employees not covered by or included in chapter 76 and sections 302A-602 to 302A-640, and 302A-701, or bargaining unit (8). Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-12(a)(14). Further, OIP had previously opined that a government employee’s vacation leave records may not be withheld under the privacy exception to disclosure. OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-17. Thus, records of the number of vacation hours accrued for an employee and the dollar amount an agency would be required to pay out for vacation hours of an exempt employee must be disclosed upon request. OIP noted, however, that for covered or included employees, an agency may disclose vacation pay out amounts for those employees in a manner that would not disclose their exact compensation.

(2) What remedies are available to the legislature where an agency fails to provide information required to be disclosed under the UIPA

The general remedies available to a person for a denial of access, i.e., appeal to OIP or to the circuit court, may be utilized by a legislative body. In addition, the UIPA provides the legislature with greater authority through subpoena powers to access records that may not otherwise be generally accessible. Specifically, section 92F-12(b)(5), HRS, requires an agency to disclose “records pursuant to a subpoena from either house of the state legislature[.]”