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February 3, 2021

Hawaii 2021 SUI tax rate schedule increases significantly; taxable wage base decreases

The Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced that the state unemployment insurance (SUI) tax rates for 2021 will increase significantly to range from 2.4% to 6.6% on Rate Schedule H, up from 0.0% to 5.6% on Rate Schedule C for 2020. Rate Schedule H is the highest SUI rate schedule allowed under state law. Rate Schedule C had been in effect for several years prior to 2021.

The 2021 Hawaii SUI taxable wage base is $47,400, down from $48,100 for 2020.

New employer rate increases significantly

New employers pay at 5.2% for 2021, up from 2.4% for 2020. Hawaii employers also continue to pay an Employment & Training Assessment for 2021 of 0.01%.

CARES Act funds transferred to state UI trust fund

Hawaii Governor David Ige announced in September 2020 that any remaining CARES Act funds as of December 31, 2020, would be deposited into the state's UI trust fund to assist in the repayment of a $1 billion loan secured to pay COVID-19 UI benefits.

According to a news report, State Representative Sylvia Luke, Chair of the Finance Committee, estimated that $58 million in CARES Act funds were to be transferred to the state's UI trust fund balance. (Hawaii News Now, 12-14-2020.)

As of January 14, 2021, the US Department of Treasury shows that Hawaii has an outstanding federal UI loan balance of $700,703,490.

Mailing of SUI rate notices

Tax rate notices are typically mailed to employers in March. For more information, contact the Department at +1 808 586 8915 or see the Department's website.

Maximum weekly UI benefit amount to increase

Effective January 1, 2021, the Hawaii maximum unemployment insurance (UI) benefit amount is $639, down from $648 for calendar year 2020.

Charging of COVID-19 benefits to contributory employer accounts

As we reported, employer Hawaii SUI accounts are not charged with COVID-19 UI benefits. See the Department's FAQs for employers about UI and COVID-19 (EY Tax Alert 2020-1205, 5-4-2020).


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Workforce Tax Services - Employment Tax Advisory Services
   • Kenneth Hausser (
   • Debera Salam (
   • Kristie Lowery (


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