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CCH® UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE — 8/22/11

Hawaii amends its UI law regarding part-time/partial employment

Hawaii has amended its Employment Security Law as follows:

Good cause/part-time employment. This new section provides that an individual who has established eligibility based on full-time employment may be found to have good cause for voluntarily separating from part-time employment if the loss of full-time work made it economically unfeasible to continue part-time employment or the part-time employment was outside the individual's customary occupation and would not have been considered suitable work at the time the individual accepted it. The law provides that to determine whether an individual is reasonably fitted for a particular job, the Department will consider the degree of risk to his or her health, safety, and morals; his or her physical fitness, prior training, experience, prior earnings, length of unemployment and prospects for obtaining work in his or her customary occupation; the distance from his or her residence; and prospects for obtaining local work. The law now defines the term "suitable work" to mean work in the individual's usual occupation or work for which the individual is reasonably fitted.

An individual also may have good cause for leaving a part-time position if: the employer failed to provide sufficient advance notice of a work schedule change; there was a schedule conflict with other work; a reasonable and prudent employee would take similar action; there is a change in working conditions that is prejudicial or detrimental to the employee; there is a change in terms and conditions of employment; discrimination exists that violates equal employment opportunity laws; or there is a change in the employee's marital or domestic status. Other reasons include an acceptance of a firm offer of other employment where that offer is withdrawn and the former employer refuses to rehire the employee; mandatory retirement imposed by a collective bargaining agreement; or evidence that the employee was a victim of domestic or sexual violence. In addition, the term “part-time" means less than 20 hours per week or on-call, casual or intermittent work.

Partial unemployment. This sections pertaining to partial unemployment are no longer repealed as of July 1, 2011.

In addition, the law has eliminated language that provided that if eight or fewer consecutive weeks of total unemployment follow a week of partial unemployment, the weeks of total unemployment may be considered weeks of partial unemployment. However, if total unemployment extends beyond eight consecutive weeks, an individual will be considered totally unemployed. In addition, language that allowed the Department to extend partial unemployment beyond eight weeks under certain conditions has been eliminated.