Handbook for Employers
This handbook will provide you with a simplified explanation of the Hawaii Employment Security Law, Chapter 383 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, and the Administrative Rules and Regulations. It will assist you to understand the basic provisions of the law and to help you to fulfill your responsibilities and protect your rights as an employer.
The Unemployment Insurance Division is responsible for identifying and registering employers covered by the Employment Security Law, collecting contributions as required by law, and paying benefits promptly to eligible unemployed workers. The objective of the Unemployment Insurance program is to provide temporary payments to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and meet all requirements of the law. The benefit payments replace a portion of the unemployed person’s prior wages while seeking another job. The benefits paid also serve to stabilize the local economy by maintaining purchasing power. The program is a Federal-State venture administered through the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and financed by the Federal and State unemployment taxes on employers.
The Hawaii Employment Security Law was enacted in 1937 and subsequent amendments to the law have been made to keep current with the changes in Hawaii’s social and economic structure and conditions. Please keep this handbook for reference. We hope that this handbook will bring to you a better understanding of the program. If you have any specific problems not covered in this handbook, please contact our staff by writing to:
Unemployment Insurance Division
830 Punchbowl Street Room 325
Honolulu, HI 96813
Linda Y. Uesato, Administrator
Unemployment Insurance Division
Effective immediately, paper Form UC-1 is not accepted. To register for a Unemployment Insurance (UI) account number, call 808-586-9076. Employers are required to complete the online application before a UI account number will be issued. Note: Future hire dates are not accepted.
Every individual or organization which becomes an employing unit must file a status report within 20 days after hiring an employee. A determination of liability will be made, the subject employer will be assigned an Unemployment Insurance account number and tax forms will be furnished when a current or past liability date is established. Valid identification numbers are never pre-issued before the liability date. Employers are required to post the “Unemployment Insurance for Workers” poster at each work place. The poster will furnish information to workers on their benefit rights and how to file a claim for unemployment benefits. Click here for poster.
If an employer has terminated business or terminated all employees from employment, changed address or type of business, the employer should notify the Employer Services Section on Form UC-25, “Notification of Changes.”
Form UC-25, Notification of Changes are available on the Internet at labor.hawaii.gov/ui/ui-forms .
Employers who hire one or more individuals and/or who do business in Hawaii may be subject to coverage under the Hawaii Employment Security Law with the following exclusions:
- Agricultural labor if the employer paid less than $20,000 total cash wages during each calendar quarter in both the current and the preceding calendar years and if the employer had in each of the current and the preceding calendar years (1) nine employees or less performing agricultural labor in any one calendar week, whether or not the same individuals did such labor in each week, or (2) 19 calendar weeks or less, whether consecutive or not, in which agricultural labor was performed by the employees. Also, agricultural labor if performed by an alien admitted to the United States pursuant to section 214(c) and 101(a)(15)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. (Weeks of employment in the current and the preceding years cannot be combined when determining coverage. Although alien labor is excluded, cash wages, number of employees and weeks worked for aliens must be counted.)
- Domestic service performed for a person who paid cash remuneration of less than $1,000 to all individuals employed in any calendar quarter in the current or preceding calendar year.
- Casual labor not in the course of the employer’s trade or business, earning less than $50 per quarter and working less than 24 days per quarter in the current or preceding calendar quarters.
- Service of one or more employees for less than 20 weeks in the current or preceding calendar year on a fishing vessel weighing 10 net tons or less. (Weeks of work in the current and preceding years cannot be combined to meet the 20 weeks of employment.)
- Family employment (parents, spouse, or children under 21 years of age in the employ of the child’s father or mother).
- Employment with federal or other state governments.
- Service by workers for nonprofit organizations earning less than $50 per quarter.
- Service by ordained members of a church.
- Service by students who are enrolled and regularly attending classes at a school, college, or university, and by a student enrolled in a full-time program at a nonprofit or public educational institution, which combines academic instruction with work experience (school to work).
- Service for a foreign government.
- Service by student nurses and interns.
- Service by insurance agents remunerated solely on commission basis.
- Service by individuals under 18 years of age delivering newspapers.
- Service by enrollees in Job Corps and Neighborhood Youth Corps programs and Volunteers in Service to America under the Federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
- Service by a registered travel sales representative remunerated by way of commission.
- Service by a vacuum cleaner salesperson remunerated solely by commission.
- Service by real estate agents remunerated solely on commission basis.
- Service by two family members who each own at least 50% of the shares of a family-owned corporation. Employers, however, should consider the following before electing the exclusion: (1) the employer must apply for the exclusion which is irrevocable for five (5) years; (2) employees are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if the business closes; (3) the employer remains liable for Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA – Federal Unemployment Tax Act) which may be higher because the employer would not be eligible for the 5.4% FUTA tax credit provided to covered employers. The department will review and notify the employer of its findings in writing. If approved, the effective date will be the first day of the calendar quarter in which the application is approved by the department. Form UC-336, “Election by Family-Owned Corporation to be Excluded From Coverage Under Section 383-7(20), Hawaii Revised Statutes,” may be obtained at the unemployment office nearest you or from the department’s web page.
- Service by a direct seller as defined in section 3508, Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
- Services performed by an election official or election worker as defined in section 3309(b)(3)(F) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
- Service performed by an inmate or any person committed to a penal institution.
- Services performed by individuals who provide in-home and community based care services for persons with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities under the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services waiver program as authorized by the Social Security Act or when provided through state funded medical assistance to individuals ineligible for Medicaid.
Non-profit organizations (religious, charitable, and educational) qualifying for income tax exemption under the Internal Revenue Code may apply for exemption from paying contributions by requesting self-financing status. Indian tribes or tribal units may elect to be self-financing. Interested employers should contact the nearest unemployment office and file a notice of election on Form UC-175, “Application for Self-Financing — Non Profit Organization” and Form UC-177, “Security Deposit Determinations” with the Unemployment Insurance Division. Each self-financed employer must pay a security deposit of .2% of the total wages of the preceding calendar year, which will be held in escrow until the employer withdraws from the self-financing plan and total liability under the self-financing election is terminated. The security deposit will be returned less any deductions provided by law.
Employers not subject under the law may obtain coverage voluntarily by filing a written application with the Employer Services Section (address on Page ii). Such voluntary elections must be for at least two calendar years. Upon written approval of such application, coverage begins the first day of the calendar quarter in which the application is approved. Coverage may be terminated by a written notice filed at least 30 days prior to the end of the second or a subsequent calendar year.
To be considered an independent contractor, all of the following conditions (“ABC Test”) must be met:
A) Individual must be free from control or direction; and
B) Service must be performed outside the usual course of business or place of business; and
C) Individual must be customarily engaged in an independent occupation, trade, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the contract of service.
Service performed by an independent contractor is not covered under the unemployment insurance law and is not considered employment. Before excluding workers as independent contractors, employers should contact the Employer Services Section (address on Page ii) and request a determination. Failure to do so may result in an assessment of delinquent contributions, penalty and interest from retroactive coverage.
The collection and analysis of industrial data are essential for statistical reporting purposes and for internal operating research and planning. A system of coding has been established to facilitate the compilation and analysis for these purposes, the North American Classification System (NAICS). All newly established accounts are coded on the basis of the NAICS code provided and/or the description of the type of activity in which the employer is engaged as shown on the registration report. Since the breakdown of each industry is detailed and intensive, it is important that employers furnish as accurate a 6-digit level NAICS and description of the business.
QUARTERLY WAGE, CONTRIBUTION AND EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ASSESSMENT REPORT
All subject employers, including self-financed such as government and nonprofit organizations and contributory employers with a 0.00% tax rate are required to submit Form UC-B6, Quarterly Wage, Contribution and Employment and Training Assessment Report, on or before the last day of the month following the close of the calendar quarter as follows:
First quarter ends March 31: due no later than April 30
Second quarter ends June 30: due no later than July 31
Third quarter ends September 30: due no later than October 31
Fourth quarter ends December 31: due no later than January 31
The laser printed Form UC-B6 has been specifically designed to be processed through a high-speed scanner; therefore, you must complete and submit the laser version in its original form. Facsimiles or photocopies of the form will not be accepted. You will need to make your own copy of the original completed form for your records. If additional UC-B6 forms are needed, please contact the Employer Services Section.
Form UC-B6 and contribution due, received after the due date, is subject to penalty and interest charges. Form UC-B6 must be filed each quarter even though wages were not paid during the quarter. Failure to file Form UC-B6 may result in a tax being assessed by the Unemployment Insurance Division (see section on “Office Assessment”). In addition, if an employer has not submitted Form UC-B6 for any of the prior quarters at the time the employer is experience rated (at the beginning of each year), the employer will be assessed the maximum rate. If “excusable failure” can be established for being delinquent, the employer can request a redetermination. The employer must:
- Submit a request for redetermination in writing;
- Include a detailed explanation for the delinquency;
- Include all outstanding reports that were not filed, filed incorrectly, or returned for completion by the Unemployment Insurance Division but not resubmitted as required; and
- Submit the request to the Employer Services Section by December 31st of the year for which the contribution is assessed.
Form UC-B6 requires an employer to report the following:
1. Number of covered workers in each month during the quarter.
Employers should enter the number of workers per month who are covered by the Hawaii Employment Security Law and who worked during or received pay for the payroll period that includes the twelfth day of each month. Include all full-time and part-time workers, workers who were on paid vacation or paid sick leave, and workers who earned wages in excess of the taxable wage base. Exclude persons who were on leave without pay; earned no wages during the applicable pay periods because of strikes, work stoppages, or temporary layoffs; or who earned wages during the month, but not during the applicable pay periods. If there were no employees during any one or more months of the quarter, the employer should enter a zero in the box(es) under the appropriate month.The employment data provided by employers on the quarterly wage/contribution reports is also used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Commerce, and Unemployment Insurance Service.
2. Quarterly contribution.
An employer’s contribution rate based upon the rate schedule in effect for the calendar year will be printed on their contribution report, Form UC-B6. Computation of the employer’s contribution rate is explained further in the “Contribution Rates and Schedules” section. To determine the quarterly contribution amount due, the total taxable wages (see section on “Taxable Wages”) are multiplied by the contribution rate and entered on Form UC-B6.
3. Quarterly wage record.
Employers must list the names, social security numbers, and total wages paid to all of the covered workers employed during the quarter. Forms are mailed in March for the entire calendar year. No substitutes for the forms provided by the Unemployment Insurance Division will be accepted without prior approval.
Information reported by employers with respect to quarterly wages paid to employees will be used to process claims for unemployment benefits by former employees who file an unemployment claim and will also be reported to the National Directory of New Hires for the purpose of locating and identifying child support obligors. The establishment of the National Directory of New Hires was mandated by Public Law 104-193 (Welfare Reform Act).
The UI Division implemented a State Verification and Exchange System (SVES) in July of 2002. SVES is a data exchange program with the Social Security Administration that verifies the validity of claimant social security numbers. The SVES program assists with claimant identification and provides an additional method to detect fraudulently filed unemployment claims. This program helps to detect fictitious employer and identity theft schemes. Thus, it is imperative that employers also verify and transmit the employee’s correct social security number to our office.
4. Employment and Training (E&T) Assessment.
In Hawaii, employers are also subject to an Employment and Training (E&T) fund assessment on taxable wages paid to an employee. This assessment does not apply to self-financed employers. To determine the E&T amount due, the total taxable wages (see section on “Taxable Wages”) are multiplied by the applicable E&T assessment rate for that specific year and entered on Form UC-B6. No portion of the State E&T assessment will be credited to the employer’s reserve account nor can be taken as a credit against the FUTA tax.
5. Amount of payment due.
To determine the total payment due, the employer must add the employer’s quarterly contribution to the E&T assessment and enter the amount on Form UC-B6.
Payment should be made payable to the “State Tax Collector”, attached to Form UC-B6, and sent to the following address:
State Tax Collector
P O Box 3223
Honolulu HI 96801-3223
Contributions paid to the State are placed in an unemployment trust fund for payment of unemployment insurance benefits. E&T assessments are deposited in a special fund for the operation of the Workforce Development Division and job training programs.
E-FILE FORM UC-B6
The Hawaii Unemployment Insurance (HUI) Express provides a safe and convenient way for employers to file Form UC-B6 online and make payment. Download the free Quarterly Wage Reporting System (QWRS) software program to prepare quarterly reports, compute taxes and transmit online. QWRS eliminates the need to send paper documents. Reporting data online is encouraged to reduce errors; reduce handling, processing, and storage costs; and to provide better security and confidentiality of data.
The QWRS program allows a single employer and accountants or service providers with multiple employer accounts to file Form UC-B6 via the Internet, CD or diskette. Payment can be made on-line or by mail.
The QWRS program provides the following:
- Replacement for the QWR DOS based wage data program
- Electronic filing for the Quarterly Contribution and E&T Assessment Report (Form UC-B6)
- Electronic filing of the Quarterly Wage Report (employee wage detail)
- Optional payment of contributions with Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)/Automated Clearing House (ACH Debit only)
- Improved Import capabilities from Excel spreadsheet
- Calculates Contributions and E&T Assessment due
- Calculates Total, Taxable and Excess wages
To file by Internet, you must create an account on the Hawaii Unemployment Insurance (HUI) Express website at: http://hui.ehawaii.gov and click on “Create an eHawaii.gov portal account.” The Internet Filing Instructions for HUI Express and the QWRS User’s Manual can be downloaded at: http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui.
- A Microsoft Windows compatible PC with a Pentium processor, recommended 200 MHz or faster
- Windows 95 or above with latest service packs applied
- 256 MB of RAM
- 20 MB of free hard disk space
- Internet access to take advantage of submitting reports and payment online or CD or diskette if not Internet filing
- Recommend resolution of 800 x 600 or higher
RECORD LAYOUT FOR PROGRAMMERS
Employers may choose to create the Wage Record and/or Contribution Record using the new Wage Record Layout and Contribution Record Layout. Before filing through HUI Express, approval must be obtained by the Unemployment Insurance Division by completing an application and submitting a test file. The Contribution Record layout is only accepted online via HUI Express with ACH debit payment. The Wage file is accepted online via HUI Express, CD or diskette.
“Wages” include all remuneration for services from whatever source including commissions, bonuses, tips paid to an employee, which were reported to an employer, and payments in any medium other than cash. There are, however, a few exclusions, such as payments to welfare plans, pension payments to retired workers, payments to employees serving in the armed forces, and payments to sick employees where there is a sick leave plan in effect. These excluded wages should not be reported on the quarterly wage/contribution report.
A reasonable monetary value should be determined and reported for any remuneration paid in any medium other than cash for services performed. Minimum values for board and lodging have been established by administrative rule as follows:
Full room and board
- weekly …………… $28.00
- per week……………………….. 18.90
- per day ………………………….. 2.70
- per meal ………………………… 0.90
- per week…………………………. 9.10
- per day …………………………… 1.30
The taxable portion of an employee’s annual wages is limited to the “tax base” for that calendar year. An individual employee’s wages in excess of the “tax base” are not taxable. The “tax base” is equal to the State’s average annual wages of employers contributing to the unemployment trust fund and is computed at the beginning of each calendar year. The tax base is shown on Form UC-B6. Current information on the “tax base” can be accessed on the Internet at http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui.
Wages paid by an employer, who has succeeded to the business of another employer during a calendar year, may be combined with the wages paid by the predecessor to compute the taxable base for employees of the successor. Wages paid by an employer to an employee reported to another state during the calendar year may be combined with Hawaii wages.
Employers are required to report on their quarterly wage/contribution reports the total cash wages paid, remuneration paid in any medium other than cash, wages in excess of the established tax base, and net taxable wages. For each quarter, wages should be reported during the quarter in which they were paid and not when they were earned. For example, if the employee’s wages were earned during the last week of the first quarter but not paid until the second quarter, the employer must report those wages in the second quarter.
MULTIPLE WORKSITE REPORT
Unemployment Insurance employer accounts with multiple locations and 10 or more employees in secondary locations within the state may be requested to report employment and wages by each worksite or physical location on Form BLS 3020, Multiple Worksite Report (MWR). Forms are mailed quarterly. The Research and Statistics Office uses the information received to disaggregate employment and wages by industry and by location within the state.
Employers will be assessed the following penalties for:
Late Contribution Payment: a penalty of 10% but not less than $10 will be assessed if contributions are not paid by the due date. Interest at the rate of two-thirds of one percent on the contributions and penalty unpaid within 15 days after the due date will be assessed for any month or fraction of a month that employer is delinquent. Also, employers cannot receive the full federal tax offset credit (see “Delinquent Contributions”).
Late Quarterly Wage/Contribution Reports (Forms UC-B6): a penalty of $30 will be assessed if the quarterly wage/contribution reports are not submitted on or before the last day of the month following the close of a calendar quarter. In addition, benefit overpayments caused by inaccurate, incomplete or late reports, in the absence of fraud by the claimant, will be charged to the employer’s reserve account and employers will be assessed the maximum rate (see section on “Quarterly Wage, Contribution and Employment and Training Assessment Report”).
Late Separation Reports (Form UC-BP-35): a penalty of $10 will be assessed for not submitting a separation report within five calendar days from the date the form is mailed. In addition, if a claimant is overpaid benefits because a separation report was incomplete, inaccurate or submitted late, in the absence of fraud by the claimant, all benefits overpaid up to the date the Form UC-BP-35 was received will be charged to the employer’s reserve account (see section on “Request for Separation Information”).
An employer, who disagrees with an assessment or penalty, after first paying the amount assessed, may file an appeal within 20 days after the date the assessment notice was mailed. The appeal will be heard by an Appeals Officer.
OFFICE ASSESSMENT (OA)
If an employer fails to file a quarterly wage/contribution report or remit payment, notification will be sent on the “Monthly Statement of Account.” If the employer continues to be delinquent, a tax will be assessed based on available information. Notification of the assessment will be sent on the “Notice of Tax Assessment (OA).” The assessment will show the wages used for the assessment, the tax, the office assessment penalty, and the interest due. If the employer fails to file a corrected report or appeal within 20 days after the date the notice was mailed, the assessment will become final. If the employer also fails to remit payment, that employer will be subject to a lien. A lien attaches real and personal property of the employer. In addition, an employer may also be subject to a field audit.
When the employer finds that contributions have been overpaid, the employer should notify the Employer Services Section in writing of such overpayment, indicating the reason for the overpayment, the quarter for which the overpayment was made, the wages reported and contributions paid, the correct wages that should have been reported, and the contributions that should have been paid. When the overpayment is established, the employer will be sent a “Notice of Credit.”
The employer should attach the “Notice of Credit” to the next quarterly wage/contribution report and apply the credit against the contributions due. If the employer has terminated business or employment and is unable to offset such credit or if the payment is of such a substantial amount that the credit cannot be cleared by applying against the contributions due within a year, the employer may request, in writing, a cash refund from the Unemployment Insurance Division.
CONTRIBUTION RATES AND SCHEDULES
An employer’s annual contribution rate is based on a multi-schedule contribution rate system. The effective contribution rate schedule is determined on the basis of the relationship between the most current reserve fund and the most recent adequate reserve fund. The Current Reserve Fund is the total asset currently available for the payment of benefits and the Adequate Reserve Fund is the amount needed to finance a severe spell of unemployment.
Further explanation and computation of the Effective Contribution Rate Schedule is available in the Research and Statistics Office, “Annual Evaluation of the Hawaii Unemployment Compensation Fund” publication and at http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui. The report provides information on factors that affect the income, outgo, and fund balance of the Hawaii Unemployment Compensation Fund. It is prepared to meet the requirements of Section 383-126.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which calls for an annual evaluation of the adequacy of the Fund balance.
Employers will be advised of their contribution rates in March of each year. The contribution rate is based upon the ratio of the employer’s reserve balance to the employer’s average annual payroll. The contribution rate can be found by locating the tax rate associated with the reserve ratio in the following table. Contribution rates are in percentages.
Example: Assume that an employer’s Reserve Ratio is .0501 and Schedule D is in effect for the year. To find the contribution rate, locate the Reserve Ratio .0501 on Schedule D. The contribution rate for that reserve ratio is 2.2%.
CONTRIBUTION RATE SCHEDULES (rates in percentages)
|Effective 1992 – 2012:|
|Effective January 1, 2013|
Current information on which schedule is in effect is available on the Internet at http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui.
Under an experience rating plan, an employer may be eligible for a reduced rate if certain conditions are met after the account has been chargeable with benefits for the 12-month period prior to the rate computation date (December 31). The new rates are computed for eligible employers at the beginning of each year. In March, each employer is furnished a “Contribution Rate Notice.” The Contribution Rate Notice for the calendar year will show the tabulation of the average annual taxable payroll, beginning contribution reserve balance, contributions paid, benefits charged to the employer during the previous year, and the ending contribution reserve balance. The notice will also show the tabulation of the employer’s reserve ratio. The reserve ratio is obtained by dividing the reserve balance at the end of the year by the average annual taxable payroll for the past three years. By applying the Reserve Ratio to the Effective Contribution Rate Schedule, the employer’s contribution rate is determined.
Example: Rate Year 2013
|Reserves:||Annual Taxable Payroll:|
Add Contribution Paid
Less Benefits Charged
Total Payroll 3 Yrs Average Annual Taxable Payroll:
$244,998.13/3 Yrs = $81,666.04
Reserve at 12/31/12 / Average Annual Taxable Payroll = Reserve Ratio
$10,206.13 / $81,666.04 = 0.1250
Locate the computed Reserve Ratio on the Effective Contribution Rate Schedule. For the year 2013, use Schedule G. Since the Reserve Ratio of 0.1250 falls between .1200 to .1299 on the Effective Contribution Rate Schedule G, the employer’s contribution rate is 2.4%.
Employers should compare the data with their records and verify the computation of the contribution rate. If an error is found in the computation of the rate or in the wages reported, an employer should explain the error and request a review and redetermination in writing within 15 days from the date the “Contribution Rate Notice” is mailed. Any changes in the Effective Contribution Rate Schedule and/or increase in the average annual taxable wages or decrease in the ending reserve due to benefit charges or delinquent contribution payments may result in rate increase. The contribution rate for new or newly covered employers is the same as the contribution rate assigned to employers with a .0000 reserve ratio.
For active employers, including employers with a 0.0% tax rate, who have failed to submit any one of their contribution reports for the prior quarters, an experience rate is not calculated. The employer is assessed the maximum rate unless the employer can establish good cause for the non-filing as described in the section on “Quarterly Wage, Contribution and Employment and Training Assessment Report.”
TRANSFER OF EMPLOYER’S EXPERIENCE RECORD
Employing units, which acquire substantially all of a trade, organization, or business, may apply for transfer of the predecessor’s experience record provided the following conditions are met:
1. Form UC-86 “Waiver of Employer’s Experience Record” must be filed and signed by both the predecessor and successor employers;
2. The successor employer must continue to employ all or nearly all of the predecessor’s employees; and
3. The predecessor employer must remit all outstanding contributions and submit all information and reports required by the Unemployment Insurance Division.
The Form UC-86 should be filed:
- Within 60 days of the transfer for newly subject successor employers to get the rate of the predecessor or the predecessors if all predecessor employers have the same rate. If the predecessor employers have different rates, the successor will receive the rate assigned to employers with a .0000 reserve ratio;
- By March 1 of the year following the transfer for successor employers already subject to the Hawaii Employment Security Law to get a rate for the new year based on the combined experience of both the successor’s and predecessor’s records; or
- By December 31 of the year following the transfer in order for the Unemployment Insurance Division to honor any request for transfer of experience record.
Employers interested in applying for a transfer should contact the Employer Services Section.
On June 9, 2005 a new law was enacted to close loopholes that permitted “SUTA (state unemployment tax act) dumping”, also referred to as state unemployment tax avoidance. SUTA dumping is a tax evasion scheme involving the manipulation of an employer’s unemployment insurance (UI) tax rate to achieve a lower rate, and thereby pay less UI taxes. SUTA dumping is accomplished through a variety of methods such as transfers of workforces and payroll, restructuring, acquisitions, mergers and shell transactions. SUTA dumping unfairly shift costs to other employers causing an inequitable distribution among employers and adversely affect tax rates for all employers. Employers and individuals who engage in SUTA dumping may be subject to severe civil and criminal penalties. Unemployment experience must be transferred and the rate recalculated whenever there is a transfer (including the workforce) and at the time of the transfer common ownership, management, or control exists between the employing units.
Mandatory transfers. Unemployment experience must be transferred whenever there is substantially common ownership, management or control of two employing units, and one employing unit transfers its trade or business (including its workforce), or a portion thereof, to the other employing unit. Notification of the transfer to the UI Division is required from both parties within thirty days after the date of transfer. The rates of both employing units will be recalculated effective with the calendar year immediately following the date of the transfer. The mandatory transfer requirement does not apply when one employing unit acquires another employing unit and at the time of the acquisition, they are not under common ownership, management or control. The “successor” company still has the option to transfer or not transfer the “predecessor” company’s experience to the “successor” company.
Prohibited transfers. Unemployment experience may not be transferred, and a new employer rate will be assigned, when a person who is not an employing unit acquires the trade or business of an existing employing unit primarily for the purpose of obtaining a lower rate of contribution. Notification of the acquisition to the UI Division is required from both parties within thirty days after the date of acquisition.
Employers requiring further explanation should contact the Employer Services Section.
FEDERAL TAX (FUTA) CREDIT
The Federal government imposes on employers with one or more employees employed for 20 or more weeks or who had payrolls of $1,500 or more during any calendar quarter in the current or preceding year, an unemployment tax in addition to the State tax. Employers subject to the FUTA tax can claim credit against federal taxes on contributions paid to the State. Maximum credit will be granted by the federal government if State contributions are paid on time, even though the employer paid the State contributions at a reduced rate. In order that full credit may be obtained, employers should pay State contributions in full and on time.
An employer who is delinquent for unemployment contributions cannot receive full credit allowable against the FUTA tax. If the employer is unable to clear the delinquent contributions in full, arrangements may be made with the Unemployment Insurance Division for installment payments. Failure to remit payments will result in the Unemployment Insurance Division filing tax liens with the State Bureau of Conveyances, which attach real and personal property of the debtor. For continued delinquencies, the Unemployment Insurance Division may collect the amount due by civil action through the district courts.
REQUEST FOR SEPARATION INFORMATION
When a former employee applies for unemployment benefits, the Unemployment Insurance Division will request separation information on Form UC-BP-35, “Request for Separation Information.” The form must be submitted within five calendar days from the date the form is mailed. If the separation report is not returned on time, a determination will be made based on available information. Penalties relative to the Form UC-BP-35 are described in the section on “Penalties.”
The State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES) offers employers an electronic way to simplify and streamline responses to UI information requests, saving employers time, staff time and money. FREE OF CHARGE! This process replaces the current paper-based method of requesting information via mail (UC-BP-35, Request for Separation Information). Employer’s that register with SIDES E-Response will receive an email notification the day after an employee files for unemployment benefits. The employer can then log on to the web based application to provide information regarding the individual’s job separation. This process will significantly increase timeliness and accuracy in information received by UI, helping employers maintain a lower tax rate and lessen the need to appeal benefit charges. Employers can register for SIDES E-Response at: uiclaims.hawaii.gov or obtain more information at labor.hawaii.gov/ui/sides.
NOTICE OF LABOR DISPUTE
In case of unemployment due to strike, lockout, or other labor dispute, the affected employer must file a notice setting forth the existence of such dispute with the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations no later than 24 hours after such unemployment occurs.
Benefits that are paid to an individual are charged to an employer’s account according to the proportion of wages the employer paid to the total wages paid by all employers in the individual’s base period. However, benefits are not charged to contributory employers in the following cases:
- Claimant voluntarily quit work without good cause;
- Claimant voluntarily quit work with good cause not attributable to the employer;
- Claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with work;
- Claimant worked part-time in the base period and continues to work to the same extent while receiving benefits;
- Claimant is enrolled in a vocational or retraining course approved by the Director;
- Claimant qualifies only by combining wages earned in two or more states;
- Claimant was overpaid benefits due to ineligibility or disqualification unless the employer was at fault in failing to provide the information as required by law;
- Claimant was laid off from work as a direct result of a major disaster; or
- The State portion of extended benefit payments.
A benefit charge statement identifying each claimant and the amount of benefit charges is sent quarterly to contributory employers and monthly to self-financed employers. Upon receipt of the statement, the employer should examine the charges carefully by comparing them against the payroll records for employment of the individuals listed, and against the “Employer’s Notice of Unemployment Insurance Benefits” (see section on “Notice of Determination”) for “charge” or “non-charge” determination, and the percentage of charges computed at the time the claim was filed.
RECORDS TO BE KEPT BY EMPLOYERS
Employers are required by law to keep accurate work records of their employees. The following records must be kept for at least five years after the calendar year in which the remuneration was earned:
- For each individual worker (unless it has been ruled that the services are not employment):
- Name and social security account number;
- Type of work performed;
- Locations where worked and place of residence if worked outside the State;
- Date hired, rehired, or returned to work after temporary layoff;
- Last day worked, date separated from work and reason for separation;
- Rate of pay, amount of wages paid for each pay period and dates paid, segregated by cash, gratuities or tips, and payments made in any other medium;
- Amount paid as allowances or reimbursement for traveling or business expenses, date of payment, and amounts of such expenditures actually incurred and accounted for by the worker; and
- For each pay period in which individual performs services in both subject employment and non-subject work, the hours spent and wages earned in each, shown separately.
2. A general record of:
- Beginning and ending dates of each pay period; and
- Total amount of remuneration paid in each quarter for employment, showing separately the portion on which contribution is payable.
A field audit program is maintained by the Unemployment Insurance Division. Accounts to be audited may be selected at random by industry, area, or other classifications. Records are also audited in individual cases where there appear to be discrepancies in reporting, or where the employer’s liability under the law needs to be determined.
QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAM
The Unemployment Insurance Division also operates a Quality Control Program to detect and prevent benefit payment errors and abuse. Unemployment insurance claims are randomly selected each week for comprehensive review to insure the validity and accuracy of paid and denied claims. The verification process involves personal visits to employers in order to review the payroll records, the reason for separation, and the work search contacts of each claimant chosen for review.
Insured workers who are unemployed may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. A person who is receiving temporary disability insurance (TDI) benefits is not unemployed. In order to receive such benefits, an unemployed person must:
- File an initial claim online or in person with the Unemployment Insurance Division and file weekly or bi-weekly claim certifications as instructed;
- Register for work at the nearest State Workforce Development Division office within seven (7) days from the date of filing or if a member of a referring union, report to a union hiring hall;
- Be ready, willing, and able to work;
- Have been paid wages during the base period of at least 26 times the weekly benefit amount and in at least two quarters of the base period. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding the filing of a claim. If the individual cannot qualify using the standard base period, an “alternate base period” using the last four completed calendar quarters preceding the filing of a claim can be used. If the claimant has sufficient wages to establish a valid claim, a weekly benefit amount will be established for the claimant that will remain unchanged for the duration of the claimant’s benefit year. To establish a successive benefit year, in addition to meeting the wage qualification requirements as stated above, the claimant must, after the beginning date of the prior claim, have worked in covered employment and been paid an amount equal to five times the weekly benefit amount of the new claim; and
- Serve a one-week waiting period after filing the initial claim before any payments can be made. No benefits are paid for the waiting week period.
AMOUNT OF BENEFITS PAYABLE
The total amount of benefits potentially payable to an eligible claimant during the claimant’s benefit year (the one-year period following the effective date of the claim) is 26 times the weekly benefit amount. The claimant’s weekly benefit amount, which is computed by using the base period wages, equals 1/21 of the total wages paid in the claimant’s highest quarter of the base period. However, no claimant can receive a higher weekly benefit amount than the State’s maximum weekly benefit amount (70% of the State’s average weekly wage on or before November 30) for the calendar year in which the claim is effective.
Claimants can file their initial claims including reactivating existing claims and file weekly and bi-weekly certifications. To apply online, go to uiclaims.hawaii.gov. When filing online, claimants must print the confirmation page at the end and follow all instructions provided to on the website after their application has been completed. You must also download and submit applicable forms as required, and read the information in the benefit handbook.
Unless otherwise specified, a “week” means a calendar week that starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. A week claimed is referred to by the date on which it ends. (Example: The week that ends on Saturday, January 7th is referred to as the weekending January 7.)
Disqualification means the suspension of benefit payments. In the following instances, a claimant may be disqualified for an indefinite period that ends only when, following the week in which the separation or failure to apply for or accept suitable work occurred, the claimant was paid five times the claimant’s weekly benefit amount in covered employment:
- Quit without good cause;
- Discharge for misconduct connected with work; or
- Failure to apply for, or to accept, suitable work.
A claimant may be disqualified for one to four weeks following the week in which the claimant has been suspended for misconduct connected with work.
Disqualification may also occur when a claimant (a) receives other unemployment benefits, (b) is involved in a work stoppage due to a labor dispute, or (c) files a fraudulent claim. For filing a fraudulent claim, the claimant will be disqualified for the week in which the determination of fraud is made, and for each remaining week in the current and subsequent twenty-four (24) calendar months.
An individual, who is still attached to a regular employer, but working less than or not working their normal customary full time hours due to lack of full time work, may file a claim for partial unemployment benefits. The individual who accepts all work offered by the employer and whose gross earnings are less than the individual’s weekly benefit amount may be paid partial unemployment benefits equal to the difference between the individual’s weekly benefit amount and the individual’s gross earnings over $150.00
An employer to whom an individual for partial unemployment is still attached shall submit form UC-348, “Verification of Partial Unemployment Status” within 5 working days. In addition, for each week in which the individual certifies for partial unemployment benefits, the employer shall provide the employee’s name, social security number, earnings, week ending date, the reason for reduced workweek, and whether the claimant accepted all work offered by the employer. Such information is necessary to prevent improper paid and overpaid weeks. If this information is not submitted in a timely manner, payment of benefits will be made based on available information.
The Electronic Low Earning Reporting and monitoring (ELERM) allows employers to electronically submit the verification of earnings and availability information through the UI Division’s internet claims filing system at: uiclaims.hawaii.gov. Register for ELERM at uiclaims.hawaii.gov or obtain more information at labor.hawaii.gov/ui/news/new-file-weekly-report-of-low-earnings-online.
In general, pensions, retirement pay, or an annuity from a plan contributed to by a base period employer is deductible from a claimant’s weekly benefit amount if the claimant’s base period employment or wages affected the eligibility for, or increased the amount of, the pension. The entire prorated weekly amount of the pension is deductible if the employer had contributed 100% to the plan. No deductions are made when the claimant made any contribution to the pension plan. No deductions are made for social security old-age/social security disability retirement benefits and railroad retirement benefits. To make the proper deductions from the claimant’s weekly benefit amount, the Unemployment Insurance Division may request information about the claimant’s pension benefits from the employer.
NOTICE OF DETERMINATION
The “Employer’s Notice of Unemployment Insurance Benefits” is mailed to the employer when a claimant qualifies for a valid claim. The notice will show the claimant’s name, beginning date of the benefit year, the weekly benefit amount, the maximum benefits payable, the percentage of benefits which will be charged or not charged to the employer’s reserve account, and the reason for the charging or non-charging (see section on “Benefit Charges”).
If the employer does not agree with the determination, the employer should file an appeal with the Unemployment Insurance Division within ten (10) calendar days after the date of mailing. The appeals officer may, for good cause, extend the period for filing an appeal to thirty (30) calendar days.
If information is received that the claimant is involved in a quit, discharge, suspension or labor dispute, another determination will be made to determine whether benefits should be paid. The employers are notified on the “Notice of Decision on Unemployment Insurance Claim” of determinations on job separations. The decisions are based on application of the Hawaii Employment Security Law on information furnished during fact-finding interviews with interested parties.
Employers will be contacted, generally by telephone, by a claims examiner regarding information provided on the Form UC-BP-35, “Request for Separation Information.” In order to render proper determinations, it is important for the employer to provide timely information according to instructions issued by the UI office. Federal guidelines impose strict requirements for state agencies to perform their work within certain time frames. If information must be corroborated by an on-site supervisor rather than the human resources staff, the employer must ensure that the designated individual contact the claims examiner by the deadline provided by the claims examiner. Failure to do so will result in a decision that is based on only the information that is available at that time.
Benefit appeals may be filed by employers or claimants when there is disagreement on a determination. Form UC-AP-1, “Notice of Appeal” or a letter should be submitted within ten (10) calendar days after the date of mailing on the notice of determination. For good cause, the period for filing an appeal may be extended to thirty (30) calendar days. Interested parties will be notified of the date, time, and place of the hearing and every effort should be made to attend or phone in for the hearing. The appeals officer will conduct the hearing and issue a written decision. Either party may then request a reopening of the decision, or pursue judicial review of the appeals officer’s decision within 30 days to the Circuit Court where the party resides.
In spite of the utmost vigilance that the Unemployment Insurance Division exercises to safeguard the trust fund against improper payments, a small number of claimants file fraudulent claims. Employers can assist the Unemployment Insurance Division in safeguarding the trust fund by promptly reporting any information of possible improper payments. Where there is fraud, benefits that were previously charged to a contributory employer’s reserve account will be reversed.
Claimants who make false statements to obtain benefits to which they are not entitled are subject to disqualification for benefits for the week in which fraud is determined and for each remaining week in the current and subsequent twenty-four (24) calendar months. In addition, the claimant must repay all overpaid benefits. Depending on the gravity of the offense, cases of fraud may be prosecuted. If fraud is established by the court, fines and jail sentences may be imposed.
INTERSTATE RECIPROCAL AGREEMENT
Hawaii participates in an interstate reciprocal plan whereby a claimant who earned wage credits in Hawaii may move to another state and file a claim against Hawaii. Claimants may also use wage credits from Hawaii and another state under a wage-combining program. In such cases, employers in other states will be requested to furnish wage and separation reports.
An employer who anticipates termination of a large number of employees should contact the Unemployment Insurance Division to give notice of the scheduled layoff. The Unemployment Insurance Division will assist the employer in expediting claim service.
During specified periods of high unemployment, thirteen (13) weeks of extended benefits may be paid to a claimant after the individual has exhausted regular unemployment benefits. Private employers on a contributory basis will not be directly charged for the cost of extended benefits. Instead, 50% of these benefits will be charged to the Unemployment Insurance trust fund. The remaining 50% will be financed by the Federal government. Nonprofit organizations on a self-financed basis will be required to reimburse 50% of the cost of extended benefits paid to their former employees. The Federal government will finance the other 50% of the cost. State and county government employers will be charged 100% of the cost of extended benefits whether they are on a contributory or self-financed basis.
III. AMERICAN JOB CENTERS
The American Job Centers (also called One-Stop Centers) are dedicated to providing free services to job seekers and employers, including job search assistance, personal career planning services, training opportunities, HireNet Hawaii support and a library resource center.
Labor Market Information
Training for Incumbent Workers
Work Opportunity Tax Credit/Welfare to Work Tax
Alien Employment Certification Processing
Job Search Assistance
Labor Market Information
Access to Computers and other equipment in Resource
AMERICAN JOB CENTER LOCATIONS
American Job Center – Oʻahu
American Job Center – Hawaiʻi Island
IV. OTHER INFORMATION
WORKER ADJUSTMENT AND RETRAINING NOTIFICATION ACT (WARN)
Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), employers with 100 or more employees must give affected workers or their representatives, the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and the appropriate local government, at least 60 days advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff (affecting 50 or more workers). Notification is required to allow the Department time to mobilize and coordinate various governmental services to help workers cope with the trauma of layoff and to assist them with their efforts toward becoming re-employed. However, employers do not need to notify the Department if a business is closing because of a natural disaster or completion of a temporary project.
Notification to the Department must be in writing and include the following:
Name and address of employment site where business closing or mass layoff will occur
Name and phone number of company official to contact for information
Whether the layoff or closing is temporary or permanent
Scheduled dates of employee layoffs
Job titles and number of employees who will lose their jobs
Whether workers have “bumping” rights
Name of union, and name and address of the union’s chief elected officer
Notification to workers and their union must also be in writing and must include the following:
Name and address of the worksite where business closing or mass layoff will occur
Name and phone number of company official to contact about layoff plans
Whether the layoff or closing is temporary or permanent
Layoff date(s), closing date, and separation date(s)
Name and job titles of individuals who will lose their jobs
Whether workers have “bumping” rights
The information provided to employees should be in simple English.
Employers must send the written notice to:
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
830 Punchbowl Street, Rm. 329
Honolulu, HI 96813-5080
Upon receipt of notification from an employer, a member of the Department’s “rapid response team” will contact the employer to arrange to provide services to assist the dislocated workers. These services include comprehensive employment and training programs, unemployment insurance, vocational counseling, job placement, and other required services.
HAWAII PLANT CLOSING NOTIFICATION AND DISLOCATED WORKER ALLOWANCE
Chapter 394B, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and Chapter 12-506, Hawaii Administrative Rules, provide for the Plant Closing Notification and Dislocated Worker Allowance programs which protect employees from the effects of unexpected and sudden layoffs or terminations resulting from closings, partial closings, and relocations due to the sale, transfer, merger, and other business takeover or transaction of business interests.
Employers of a covered establishment are required to do the following:
1. Give written notice not less than 60 calendar days prior to the closing, partial closing, or relocation to each employee and to the Director of the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations;
2. Provide each affected employee who applies for, and is found eligible for, unemployment compensation benefits, a dislocated worker allowance for a total of four weeks; and
3. Pay from the effective date of a closing, partial closing, or relocation to each employee all wages, benefits, and other forms of compensation due and owing to said employee.
For more information, call the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Workforce Development Division at 586-8877.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) REQUESTS FOR AUXILIARY AIDS/SERVICES
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request. Call the respective office listed in the handbook or (808) 586-8847 (TTY) on Oahu, or 1-888-569-6859 (TTY) from the neighbor islands.