Hawaii Short-Term Disability and Pregnancy Disability Laws

Hawaii offers temporary disability insurance (TDI) for employees who are temporarily unable to work for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy; learn the rules here.

By , J.D. · UC Berkeley School of Law

Hawaii is one of the few states that provide temporary disability insurance or TDI (also called short-term disability insurance, or SDI) for people employed in the state. Hawaii's temporary disability insurance law requires employers to provide partial pay to employees who are temporarily unable to work due to disability.

You can get TDI benefits for pregnancy or any illness or injury that's not work-related. (Workplace injuries and illnesses are handled through the state's workers' compensation program.) Here's an overview of Hawaii's TDI law.

Which Employees Are Eligible for TDI in Hawaii?

To qualify for TDI benefits in Hawaii, you must meet the medical and financial requirements.

Qualifying for Hawaii TDI Medically

Your pregnancy or your off-the-job injury or illness must prevent you from performing your regular job duties. To prove that you can't work, you'll need to be under the care of a doctor, who must certify this fact. The doctor must be a licensed health care provider, which includes any of the following:

  • physician
  • surgeon
  • dentist
  • chiropractor
  • osteopath
  • naturopath, or
  • accredited practitioner of a faith-based healing group.

Qualifying for HI TDI Financially

To be eligible for TDI coverage:

  • You must have worked at least 14 weeks in the past year for an employer in Hawaii. (The weeks don't have to be consecutive, and they don't have to be with the same employer.)
  • During each of the 14 weeks, you must have worked at least 20 hours per week.
  • Your employer(s) must have paid you at least $400 in the 52 weeks preceding the first day you were disabled.

You must also have been employed at the time your leave became necessary (or immediately before your disability occurred). This means you worked within the two weeks prior to needing leave and would have continued working if not for the disability (or pregnancy) that made leave necessary.

Who Isn't Eligible for Temporary Disability Insurance Benefits?

Most employers are required to participate in Hawaii's temporary disability insurance program. But not all workers are eligible for TDI coverage. You're not eligible for the state's TDI if you're one of the following:

  • an employee of the federal government
  • a certain type of domestic worker or family employee
  • a student nurse or hospital intern, or
  • an insurance or real estate agent paid solely on commission.

Is There a Waiting Period for TDI in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, temporary disability insurance benefits begin on the eighth day that you have to miss work because of a disability (including pregnancy). If your injury or illness doesn't force you to miss work for more than a week, it won't qualify you for TDI benefits.

How Much TDI Pay Will You Receive?

Some states pay temporary disability insurance benefits from a state fund, often financed by employer and/or employee contributions, but Hawaii doesn't follow this model. Instead, employers in Hawaii must either:

  • purchase insurance that pays TDI benefits
  • self-insure by offering a paid leave program (that must be approved by Hawaii's Disability Compensation Division), or
  • have a collective bargaining agreement that contains sick leave benefits at least as favorable as required by Hawaii's TDI law.

Your employer's temporary disability insurance policy determines the amount you'll receive. If your employer has a "statutory" plan (one that provides the minimum benefits under the law), you'll be paid 58% of your regular weekly wages, up to the state's maximum amount. (The maximum benefit amount changes annually, but for 2024, this amount is $798 per week.)

If the state's Disability Compensation Division has approved the employer's self-funded plan, the amount of pay you'll receive will be determined by the plan's terms. Ask your employer what benefits are available.

The same rules apply when determining how long you can get temporary disability insurance benefits. Under Hawaii's labor laws, you're entitled to receive up to 26 weeks of temporary disability per benefit year. If your employer's self-funded plan has been approved, your employer's TDI policy will dictate the maximum time you can collect benefits (but it shouldn't be less than 26 weeks per year).

Does TDI Protect My Job Until I Return?

No, TDI only provides cash benefits, it doesn't ensure that your job will be there when you return. But the Hawaii Family Leave Act requires employers with at least 100 employees to allow employees four weeks off for parenting, and, depending on the size of your company, federal law may provide more. For more information, read our article on maternity leave laws in Hawaii.

How Do I File a Temporary Disability Claim in Hawaii?

Speak to your employer about filing a TDI claim. Employers who are self-insured or provide TDI benefits through a collective bargaining agreement are generally entitled to use their own forms and procedures for temporary disability insurance claims. If you work for such an employer, you'll need to get the necessary forms and information from your company's human resources or personnel department.

If your employer provides only the benefits required by the statute, follow these steps to file a claim:

  1. Tell your employer about your disability immediately.
  2. Ask for Form TDI-45, Claim for TDI Benefits, from your employer.
  3. Complete Part A of the form: Claimant's Statement.
  4. Ask your doctor to certify your disability by completing Part C: Doctor's Statement.
  5. Have your employer complete Part B: Employer's Statement.
  6. Mail the form to your employer's temporary disability insurance company.

You must file your claim within 90 days of the date you became unable to work, or else you risk losing some or all of your TDI benefits.

Once you've filed your claim, your employer or its insurance carrier will inform you of your eligibility for benefits and how much you'll receive. If your TDI claim is denied, you must be notified in writing. And you have 20 days from the mailing date of the denial notice to file an appeal.

If your disability is expected to last a year or more, you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Learn more about getting benefits when you're permanently disabled.

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