National Association of State Retirement Administrators


The Hawaii Employees Retirement System administers pension and other benefits for substantially all public employees in the state. The system maintains three plans: a contributory, non-contributory, and hybrid plan. The hybrid plan took effect on July 1, 2006, and most new hires since this date are required to join. Most participants of the noncontributory and certain members of the contributory plan were eligible to join the hybrid plan.

Authorizing Statutes

§88-22 establishes the Hawaii Employees Retirement System

There shall be a retirement system for the purpose of providing retirement allowances and other benefits for employees. It shall have the powers and privileges of a corporation and shall be known as the "Employees' Retirement System of the State of Hawaii" and by that name may sue or be sued, transact all of its business, invest all of its funds, and hold all of its cash and securities and other property.

§88-24 describes the composition of the Retirement Board

  • The director of finance of the State, ex officio;

  • Four members of the system, two of whom shall be general employees, one of whom shall be a teacher, and one of whom shall be a retirant to be elected by the members and retirants of the system under rules adopted by the board governing the election to serve for terms of six years each;

  • Three citizens of the State who are not employees, one of whom shall be a responsible officer of a bank authorized to do business within the State, or a person of similar experience, to be appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, to serve for a term of six years each.


Per the U.S. Census, in FY 2021, employer contributions to Hawaii state and local government pension plans were 6.43 percent of all state and local government direct general spending.

Constitutional Protections

Membership in any employees' retirement system of the State or any political subdivision thereof shall be a contractual relationship, the accrued benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired. See Kaho'ohanohano v. State, 162 P.3d 696 (Haw. 2007)(constitutional provision prohibiting the impairment of accrued benefits of members of Employees' Retirement System of State of Hawai'i protects not only accrued benefits but also, as a necessary implication, the sources for those benefits). (HI CONST., Article XVI, §2) Source: Robert Klausner, Esq., State Constitutional Protections for Public Sector Retirement Benefits

Flag of Hawaii (December 29, 1845)

Population (2023) 1,435,138

Hawaii public pension statistics, per U.S. Census Bureau as of FY 2023 ($ in 000s)



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