In 2018 the State of Hawaii Legislature passed a bill, Session Law Act 109, directing the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) to conduct an analysis to determine the impacts of establishing a state paid family leave (PFL) program. Stakeholders considered in the impact analysis included industry, consumers, employees, employers, and caregivers. The goal of Act 109 was to create a potential framework for the development of a PFL program that would offer paid leave for workers who need to care for a family member. The bill allowed the LRB to contract with a consultant for completion of the impact study, and after a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process, Spring was selected to partner with the State of Hawaii on this initiative.

The Challenge

The objectives of the impact study were to:

  • Conduct an objective and unbiased study analyzing and comparing existing models of PFL programs in other states
  • Model the impacts of adopting similar methods of PFL programs in Hawaii, including the projection of costs and other quantifiable effects of each model
  • Examine objectively the compliance and enforcement options for a PFL program in Hawaii and make recommendations for additional staffing and support needs

At the time, six states plus D.C. had a paid leave program for family and/or medical reasons in place, and part of our evaluation was not only a cross-model comparison of existing plans, but also a provision of the PFML landscape overall, including states with pending or rejected legislation. Both qualitative and qualitative factors needed to be assessed, including required operational activities, outreach and education approaches, state administration models, headcount modeling, IT infrastructure development, and projected startup costs. Integration with Hawaii’s existing State Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program was also explored.

Spring’s Work

Through Spring’s three-phased approach, the impact study covered a wide range of areas in detail that were critical in deciding on the development of a PFL plan in Hawaii. Starting with a deep dive into existing state PFL programs which included California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and Washington as seen below.

Plan Structure:

  • Plan model
  • Rating method
  • Plan design including benefit amount, wage replacement ratio, maximum benefit, length of leave, employer eligibility, employee eligibility, qualifying events, covered relationships, job protection, and interaction with TDI program funding


  • Taxable wage base for funding
  • Contributions to funding
  • Updated costs


  • Administrative structure
  • Claims management
  • Ongoing monitoring

Implementation Timeline

  • Rollout sufficient to gain industry and employer support
  • Education and communications strategy
  • Protocol for contributions and pre-funding

Within this evaluation, factors like gender equity, hiring practices, speed of benefit payments, ease of making applications or claims, financial sustainability, data collection capabilities, and compliance monitoring capabilities were also assessed. To arrive at these impact answers, Spring’s actuaries developed an actuarial impact model that utilizes actual PFL claim and other industry data to project claim incidence rates, duration of benefits, average benefit payments, expected costs and funding rates under existing state models and Hawaii’s current TDI structure.

The Results

Spring’s comprehensive impact study for the State of Hawaii’s Legislative Reference Bureau is available for public viewing here. Our team presented it in person to various legislators. While the State has not moved forward with a PFL program to date, we continue to keep the dialogue open and all parties are pleased with the framework set out in this project, as it was an imperative piece of due diligence on behalf of the State.