Understanding Unemployment Insurance


  • The unemployment rate was 2.8 % on Maui, 4.3% on Molokai and  2.6% on Lanai before COVID-19

  • Maui & Lanai - 35,084 | Molokai - 448 | 35,532 Total Maui County Claims through 4/26/20                           

  • The internet upload speeds for Maui range on avg. 5.5  (on the mainland, they are typically 25-30) – the system is too slow for this increased volume

  • The good news is that your claim will be backdated to your last day of work

  • Congress passed the new CARES Act that will have additional benefits for both employees and independent contractors



  • Unemployment Insurance is paid by your employer for you through a payroll tax

  • A working person is entitled to unemployment benefits if they are unemployed or partially unemployed with reduced hours

  • An employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits if they are terminated for cause or they quit their job in most circumstances

  • The maximum benefit amount is $648 per week

  • Congress passed a stimulus bill which allows an additional $600 per week for a possible of $1,248 through July 1, 2020

  • Regular unemployment benefits are generally up to 26 weeks

  • Congress also approved additional weeks not to exceed 39 weeks through December 31, 2020

 Unemployment Classifications

The Maui American Job Center website is a ONE-STOP-SHOP for the following services:

Have State Unemployment questions? Please call: 808-984-8400

Total Unemployed

  • Total unemployment means that you were “laid-off” due to lack of work and your employer is not guaranteeing rights of return

  • After filing your initial claim, you must file weekly hours for the first two weeks and then on the third week, you may file bi-weekly hours (if any) from then on.

  • Mandatory requirements are that you must register for HireNet, post a resume, and you must job search for at least three positions per week.

  • While the two mandatory requirements are waived until the end of April 2020, there may be a large volume on the HireNet site making it difficult to complete registration if you wait.  

  • It is best if you register for HireNet right away Register Here!

  • Filing your weekly or bi-weekly hours worked is what generates your check


Partial Employed

  • Being partially unemployed means that you are still attached to your employer

  • You have reduced hours or you are temporarily “laid-off” with no hours and your employer has told you that you have definite return rights to the job

  • You always file hours worked (if any) on a weekly basis

  • If you earn wages at any job of more than your assessed unemployment, you must report wages earned and your weekly benefit will be adjusted

  • You may earn up to $150 before any adjustments are assessed

  • Many partially unemployed are union members and must report to their unions when laid-off


GIG – Independent Contractors

In most cases, self-employed workers, independent contractors, and freelance workers who lose their income are not eligible for unemployment benefits such as the following:

  • GIG workers can be classified as independent contractors only if companies do not exercise control over your work or how it is done

  • If you are deemed an employee and the employer has not paid into the state unemployment insurance reserve, you will be eligible for benefits and your employer  will be assessed unemployment insurance tax for you

You should be classified as an employee if the following is true about your work:

  • The company exercises control over the manner in which the work is performed

  • The company provides instructions and oversight of details of the work

  • The company trains you for the work

  • The work is part of the company’s primary business

  • All of your work is performed at a primary location(s) of the business

  • The worker is paid on an hourly basis and not by the job

  • The company provides all the necessary tools for the work

  • There is no formal agreement in writing for the work

  • The worker only works for that one employer

General Facts after Filing Your Initial Claim:

  • After filing your initial claim, there is a dashboard of information about your benefits that appears when you open your account

  • Save your unemployment login and password information because they follow your social security number.  Having to reset causes more stress on the unemployment website and call center

  • There is a separate login and password for HireNet registration. 

  • Save your login and password also for HireNet registration



8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Except for the holidays.

*Note* Please call the Maui AJC at 270-5777  

to make an appointment for assistance.

You must wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing rules at all times.

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