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Updated : July 10th, 2018

State: Hawaii (HI)
Phone Number:(808)643-5555 to file an Unemployment Compensation Claim anywhere in Hawaii. 1-877-215-5793 to file claim if you are outside the State of Hawaii(Sunday through Thursday 6:30 a.m. to 12 midnight, and Friday 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m)
Major Towns:Ewa Gentry, Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kailua , Kaneohe, Kapolei, Kihei, Makakilo, Mililani Mauka, Mililani Town, Pearl City, Schofield Barracks, Wahiawa, Wailuku, and Waipahu
Current Unemploymnet Rate in Hawaii

Hawaii Unemployment Questions

What is Unemployment Insurance?
Unemployment insurance is a program administered by the Unemployment Insurance Division of the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The purpose of this program is to provide temporary financial assistance to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who meet the requirements of the Hawaii Employment Security Law. Unemployment insurance benefits are paid as a matter of legal entitlement and past employment, and not on the basis of need.

Who Pays for Unemployment Insurance?
In Hawaii, employers pay all the costs of unemployment insurance through a payroll tax or reimbursable basis. Employees do not pay any part of their wages to finance the program.

Who qualifies for Unemployment Insurance?
You must first establish a valid unemployment claim by meeting the following two monetary qualifications:
  1. you must have been paid wages in two or more calendar quarters of your base period and,
  2. you must also have been paid wages totaling 26 times your weekly benefit amount in your base period

The standard base period is the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the effective date of your claim. The effective date of your claim is the Sunday of the week in which you first apply. If you do not qualify using the standard base period, an alternate based period can be used. The alternate base period is the last 4 completed calendar quarters.

For example, if you file your claim on January 5, 2009, then the effective date of your claim is Sunday, January 4, 2009, and your standard base period is the first 4 completed quarters from October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008. If the wages in the highest quarter of your base period is $8,400, then your weekly benefit amount would be $400 per week. You must have wages in at least two quarters of your base period and paid total wages of at least $10,400 in your base period.

If you worked in other states besides Hawaii (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands) in the base period of your claim, you may be able to combine the wages to meet the necessary monetary qualifications or to increase your weekly benefit amount.

How much do I qualify for and how long can I collect?

Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by dividing the wages in the highest quarter of your base period by 21. However, your weekly benefit amount (WBA) cannot be more than the maximum weekly benefit amount, which is determined each year by law.

For example, the maximum weekly benefit amount for claims effective on or after January 4, 2009 is $545 a week. The maximum amount that you can be paid on your claim is 26 times your weekly benefit amount. If your weekly benefit amount is $545, then the most you can be paid on your claim is $14,170. The minimum weekly benefit amount is set by law at $5 a week. Your claim is good for one year from the effective date of the claim; however, you can be paid for only 26 weeks of total unemployment during the one-year period that your claim is effective.

How do I register for work with the State Workforce Development Division?
You must register for work with the State Workforce Development Division (WDD) within seven calendar days after applying for benefits. To register for work, you must post your resume online at, the internet job matching system used by WDD. You must post your resume on the website by making it available to employers online and in the virtual one-stop format. Internet computers are available at the One-Stop centers or at pubic libraries. If you need help in completing your registration, call or visit a One-Stop center. The addresses and phone numbers are in the back of the Handbook on Unemployment Benefits or go to

What is Partial Unemployment?
You can earn up to $150 a week and still receive your full unemployment check. If you are still employed and working and earning less than your weekly benefit amount, you may qualify for the difference between your earnings over $150 and your weekly benefit amount. For example, if you earn $200 during a week and your weekly benefit amount is $300, you can still receive $250. However, if your earnings during the week equal or exceed your weekly benefit amount, you will not be entitled to benefits.If you are still employed by an employer in the above situation, the following rules apply:
  • You need to have your employer complete a "Weekly Report of Low Earnings" to verify your earnings for the week. These forms are available from your local claims office.
  • You must not refuse any suitable available work during the week in question.
Am I eligible for benefits during a labor dispute?
Your eligibility will be determined by whether a work stoppage existed at the establishment where you were last employed. Information will be obtained from your employer and from your union representatives to make this determination. If no work stoppage exists and you meet all other requirements, benefits will be allowed. A Notice of Decision on Unemployment Insurance Claim covering the weeks you filed for will be sent to you. Other decisions may also be made to determine your eligibility. Information which you should report include: strike pay, sick pay, vacation pay, social security, pensions, disability or illnesses, schooling, trips, and self-employment. If more information is needed, you will be contacted by a claims examiner to make this determination.

Questions & Answers

  1. We are a military family and are scheduled to PCS within the next few months and ive heard as a military spouse we are eligible for unemployment but my question is If so, what is the process prior to giving up my job? At what length am I allowed to resign prior to moving? Or should I wait until the very last day till the move? Thank you.

    1. Ashley,

      As a military spouse, you will be eligible to claim UI benefits after you resign and move. Please consider applying once you’re totally unemployed.

  2. I have been waiting to obtain my unemployment checks and have not received any checks at this time. I have been in contact with a claims examiner who contacted my previous employer and “grilled me” for 30 min asking questions and requesting emails between myself and former employer. I sent them to her in hopes of expediting my claim and to release my unemployment check, but still no check. I keep leaving voice messages on her phone, but have not received any return calls. Who can I go to, to help expedite my claim and receive my unemployment benefit checks. This has been going on for over a month.

    1. Lauren,

      I can understand the reason for anxiety. If you’re unable to reach the examiner, please call the Claims Center on their toll-free number and lookout for relevant options on the IVR.

  3. I have a boss who is constantly talking down to me and degrading me. In my eyes, she is Abusive in the way she treats me. Am I able to quit my job and collect unemployment

    1. Rose,

      Before you quit, please gather supporting documents and make sure to consult the Unemployment Office in your state. Voluntary resignation might go against you.

  4. I was removed from my supervisory position and my company can only offer a lower position and significantly reduce my income. If I don’t accept the offer, I will be terminated. Will I be eligible for Unemployment? If eligible, can I work as Uber driver on a part time basis to increase my income close to what I was making as a supervisor? Thank you.

  5. I was let go on Friday sept 22, 2017 I called in sick on thur and Friday.I called my boss on Friday if I need a note from my doctor but she said no , and that’s when she said she was letting me go. there was too much complaing from the people I worked with. although I thought things were fine I know I did the best I could . She did cut my hours quite a bit and I would have left evidently

    1. Susan,

      You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  6. My employer let me go buy a involuntary termination however they sent me emails saying I am laid off laugh terminated and it would help me with my unemployment no problem I have proof of this so will I still get my benefits

  7. I’m a spouse of an active duty service member and had to quit my job to move for a PCS (Permanent Change of Station). How long can I wait to file for UI benefits after quitting my job?

    1. You should be able to apply immediately without a waiting period.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state since it differs from one state to another.

  8. My employer has given me a verbal notice that they are letting me go at the end of the month due to lack of sales production. Would I qualify for any type of unemployment?

  9. i lost my job because the company I am working for shut their door completely on March 17,2027.i am retired and receiving SSec. Am I eligible to file uneloyment?

    1. You can be eligible to draw UI benefits along with SS benefits.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

  10. We relocated to Hawaii for my husband’s job. I had to quit my job and have been actively looking for 7 months and been on multiple interviews. Would I qualify for unemployment benefits?

    1. You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  11. My husband has a full time and a part time job. His full time job maybe laying people off, if he gets laid off will he still be eligible for unemployment?

  12. I live in NYC and have collecting unemployment. I am moving to Hawaii next month. My question is, when I move there, can I still collect Unemployment? if I can, will I have to apply with Hawaii or continue to claim with New York?

  13. My wife just got replaced with a qualified DOE employee, for her long term substituting teaching position that she has been teaching in at a local high school for the last 6 months. She was given two days notice (Friday told-last day Tuesday). Will she be eligible for unemployment compensation?

  14. I’m retired and collecting SSec. I plan to go back to work part time 25 hrs a week if I get laid off can I collect unemplyment benifits????even if I’m collecting SS…..

    1. Depends. Some states allow provision of both while some don’t.

      Please inquire further wit the labor authorities in your state and apply accordingly.

  15. I have been working for 2 yr for my employer and am being asked to work in another location that is too far for everyday drive…can I get unemployment?

  16. I am in the military and about to get out. I am leaving out of the state and leave with my spouse in another states. Can i stiil file here and get the benefits?

  17. I just got verbally terminated by the Company management and there were no separation letter given to me. Do I qualify for unemployment benefits.

  18. My husband is currently in the military, active duty. We will be moving back to Oregon (Spouse’s home state of record) after his four year contract completes, January 2014. I have a full time occupation (18+ months) in Hawaii. Due to us relocating to Oregon would I qualify for unemployment benefits? If so, what is the process prior to giving up my job? At what length am I allowed to resign prior to moving? Or should I wait until the very last day till the move? Thank you.

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