Hawaii Tax and Labor Law Summary

Nanny tax and payroll requirements for Hawaii families


Families in the Aloha state have specific federal and Hawaii state tax and payroll rules to follow when a caregiver begins working in their home. We have all this information covered for you in this guide and would be happy to do the work if you need help.



When a family hires someone to perform duties in or around their home, they are considered a household employer. The IRS views the worker whether a nanny, health aide, housekeeper, senior caregiver, gardener, chef, personal assistant, estate manager, etc. as an employee of the family in nearly every case. Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor (using Form 1099) is considered tax evasion, so please call us if you're not sure how to classify your worker.



Household employers have four primary tax responsibilities. These are sometimes referred to as the Hawaii nanny tax obligations:

1. Withhold Social Security, Medicare and Hawaii state disability insurance taxes from their employee's paycheck each pay period. Federal and state income taxes should be withheld based on the employee's selections on Form W-4 and Form HW-4.

* It is not legally required that income taxes be withheld. However, we strongly advise it so that the employee does not have a large tax burden at the end of the year and is not subjected to underpayment penalties.


2. Pay the employer's portion of Social Security and Medicare, federal and Hawaii unemployment insurance taxes (FUTA and SUTA), and a small Hawaii Employment and Training tax (if applicable).

Good news! There are some tax breaks for dependent care that can help offset these employer taxes. For an estimate of your employer costs, your tax breaks and your employee's take-home pay, give us a call. In addition to the tax breaks just mentioned, household employers in Hawaii may be entitled to additional state tax credits for childcare-related expenses. Please call for details.


3. File tax forms with the Hawaii Department of Taxation and the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, typically on a quarterly basis, and with the IRS in April, June, September and January. With these filings, employers remit (pay) the employee taxes withheld and the employer taxes accrued.

4. At the end of the year, prepare Form W-2 and distribute to each employee, file Form W-2 Copy A and Form W-3 with the Social Security Administration and file a Schedule H with your personal income tax return.



The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides the framework for federal and state wage and hour law. Household employees are classified under the FLSA as non-exempt workers. Non-exempt workers in all 50 states are covered by the rules and protections of the FLSA. Hawaii may supplement federal law with additional state and municipal labor laws.


Minimum Wage

Minimum wage in Hawaii is currently $10.10 per hour.


Wage Notice Requirement

Household employers in Hawaii are required to provide their employee with a written Wage Notice at the time of hire. The Wage Notice must include:

  • The employee's hourly rate of pay.
  • When paydays will occur (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.).
  • Employer's address.
  • Vacation and sick leave policies.


Hawaii Overtime Requirements

Overtime requirements are not determined by the amount of hours or by the type of pay (hourly or salary); they are determined by the type of work performed. The FLSA requires domestic workers be protected by overtime laws. The requirements for Hawaii household employers are as follows:

  1. The standard workweek is defined as 40 hours in a 7-day period.
  2. Hawaii employees should be paid at least 1.5 times the regular hourly rate (time-and-a-half) for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. 
  3. Overtime compensation is required for live-in employees.
  4. Overtime is not required to be paid when work is performed on a holiday.
  5. Household employees must have at least one day off (24 consecutive hours of rest) each week or be paid overtime for each hour worked on their 7th consecutive work day.


Employment Poster Requirement

Families in Hawaii are required to notify their employee of their rights by sharing these posters in a location that is easily accessible to them.


Mileage Reimbursement

The current federal mileage reimbursement rate is 57.5 cents per mile. This rate, which covers the cost of gasoline as well as general wear and tear on the car, should be used to calculate reimbursement payments to an employee who drives their own vehicle while on the job. Mileage reimbursement is not considered taxable compensation, so neither the employee nor the employer is required to pay any taxes on that portion of the compensation.

Note: Miles driven while commuting to and from the jobsite are not considered on-the-job. If the employer reimburses the employee for commuter mileage, it is considered taxable compensation.




Workers' Compensation Insurance 

Household employers in Hawaii are required to carry a workers' compensation insurance policy if their employee earns $225 or more in a calendar quarter. It's very important insurance, which assists with medical expenses and lost wages if an employee has a work-related injury or illness. It also provides protection to the employer since workers who accept benefits generally forfeit their right to sue the employer regardless of fault. Whether it's required in your situation or not, we recommend obtaining coverage. You can get an instant quote and purchase a policy online or by contacting our workers’ compensation advisor, Clarke White, at 804-267-1210 or wcnanny@allrisks.com.


Disability Insurance 

The Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance Program (SDI) provides Disability Insurance benefits to employees who cannot work because of sickness or injury not caused by their job. The SDI Program is funded by mandatory payroll deductions from employee wages.


Unemployment Insurance 

Hawaii unemployment insurance is a state-managed program that provides financial assistance to help laid-off workers make ends meet until they can find another job. This insurance is funded through taxes that employers are required to pay on wages paid to employees. These taxes flow into a general fund and unemployment benefits are distributed from the fund to employees who are let go from their job due to no fault of their own. The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) determines whether or not an applicant qualifies for benefits after reviewing their online or paper application and/or by conducting a telephone interview. Benefits paid to a former employee by the DLIR may trigger a future tax rate increase for the employer.


Health Insurance 

Household employers in Hawaii are usually required to help their employees pay for health insurance. Families that employ someone to work 20 or more hours per week are required to set up health insurance for their employee and pay at least 50% of the premium cost unless the employee waives coverage because they already have health insurance. After registering as an employer, families receive procurement information from the state.

Additionally, Hawaii household employers have a tax incentive for contributing toward their employee's health insurance. Families with only 1 employee can make contributions toward their employee's health insurance premiums and treat the amount as non-taxable compensation. In this scenario, neither the employee nor the employer are required to pay any taxes on that portion of the compensation.

Note: Employers with 2 or more employees must set up an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) or purchase a policy through SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) to gain this benefit. Visit our health insurance page for more information about these options.




The information herein is general in nature and may not be applicable to or suitable for your specific circumstances. Accordingly, the information is not intended to be providing legal or tax advice, and should not be relied upon without the advice and guidance of a professional tax or legal advisor.

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