Members FAQs

Updated: 2022-06-13

Q: Can I borrow upon or withdraw my Employees’ Retirement System contributions?
A: For Contributory and Hybrid, members cannot borrow from their ERS contributions.

While employed in a position that requires ERS membership, contributions are mandatory by law and cannot be stopped, suspended, or decreased. Withdrawal of accumulated contributions is only permitted through a refund at the time of retirement or when the member is not employed in a position requiring ERS membership.

Noncontributory members do not make contributions toward their retirement.

Q: Can I increase the amount of retirement contributions to my ERS retirement account?
A: No. The ERS does not allow retirement contributions in addition to the mandatory contribution deduction for Hybrid and Contributory members.

Q: How do I know what plan I’m in?
A: If your employment began on or after July 1, 2006, you are a Hybrid member (unless you were employed in one of the following categories: Police, Fire, Certain Public Safety Officers, Judges, Elected and Legislative Officers).

If your employment began on or after July 1, 1984, you are a Noncontributory member (unless you were employed in one of the above shown categories or made an election to join the Hybrid Plan in 2006).

If your employment began prior to July 1, 1984, you are a Contributory member (unless you made an election to join the Noncontributory plan in 1984 or made an election to join the Hybrid plan in 2006).

See plan information here: https://ers.ehawaii.gov/members/active.

Q: I am a Noncontributory member. Can I transfer or opt to become a Hybrid member?
A: Active Noncontributory members cannot opt to become a Hybrid member. However, a former employee who left service as a Noncontributory member is required by law to become a Hybrid member if they return to work in a position that requires ERS membership. If there is no break in service, the employee must remain a Noncontributory member.

Q: I am considering leaving my job and the state. What do I need to know regarding my ERS retirement benefits?
A: Before leaving employment, please get in touch with our office to get up-to-date information on your retirement benefits eligibility, and to make sure the ERS has your correct address, contact information, and beneficiary designation (if applicable). More information may be found in our “Leaving Employment” handouts found using the following link https://ers.ehawaii.gov/members/leaving-employment

Q: While I am employed, do I need to update my ERS beneficiary designation if I marry, re-marry or divorce?
A: A designation of beneficiary is only required if you are a Contributory or Hybrid member. According to Section 88-93 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, an ERS designation of beneficiary form filed prior to retirement (ERS Form 1-A) becomes null and void when:
          1. the beneficiary predeceases the member or former employee;
          2. the member or former employee is divorced from the beneficiary;
          3. the member or former employee is unmarried and subsequently marries; or
          4. the member or former employee enters or terminates a reciprocal beneficiary relationship.
If the beneficiary designation is void, your spouse or dependent children may still be eligible for death benefits. However, if there is no surviving spouse or dependent children, and if a new designation form is not filed with the ERS, benefits will be paid to the member’s or former employee’s estate. It is best to have a current form on file to ensure your intended beneficiary is covered. The ERS Form 1-A and a Q&A are available on the following page https://ers.ehawaii.gov/resources/all-forms

Q: How do I know if my “High-Three” or “High-Five” salary will be used in the calculation of my retirement benefit?
A: The “High-Three,” or the three highest 12-month periods of gross pay during an employee’s work history, will be used in determining the average final compensation (AFC) for members who have ERS membership dates before July 1, 2012.

For those with membership dates after June 30, 2012, the “High-Five,” the five highest 12-month periods of base pay will be used.

For membership dates prior to January 1, 1971, the AFC is the average of the three highest 12-month periods of earnings excluding any lump sum vacation pay, or the five highest 12-month periods of earnings including lump sum vacation pay, whichever is greater.

Q: Does the ERS provide credit for out-of-state teaching?
A: No. The ERS does not allow any out-of-state service for ERS membership service.

Q: Does the ERS process my vacation payout when I retire?
A: No. Your employer is responsible for the vacation payment when you terminate service.