April 1997

Workplace Labor Update - Are Your New Hires Deadbeat Moms or Dads? – April 1997

2 min

As part of the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996," Congress has imposed upon employers yet another regulation -- this one designed to help ensure child support enforcement. 42 U.S.C. &#sect; 651 et seq.

This new Act requires the creation of both national and state directories of new hires. Every employer must provide to its state directory, a newly hired employee's name, address, and social security number along with the employer's name, address and identification number. The states are required to transmit the information received from employers to a national directory. By May 1, 1998, states must establish a system for comparing the social security numbers of employees in the directory with those appearing in the records of the state case registry for paternity and child support cases. The national directory will perform the same comparisons to identify obligors who have fled across state lines.

The compilation of this new hire information is designed to attach the wages of child support obligors when they begin new jobs, to locate child support obligors in order to establish paternity, and to establish, modify or enforce child support obligations. The directories, along with databases of child support orders and paternity cases, are hoped to automate and thus make more efficient the process of tracking down "deadbeat" moms and dads.

To simplify the process for employers, the state directories will accept W-4 forms or the equivalent, which employers must already fill out, and transmissions can be made by first class mail, magnetically or electronically. A multistate employer who provides the information magnetically or electronically may designate one state to which it will transmit all such reports. States are to set the time frame in which the report must be made, but it cannot be later than 20 days after the date of hire. If the employer transmits magnetically or electronically, it must make two monthly transmissions not less than 12 or more than 16 days apart. Civil penalties for failure to report new hires can be up to $25 per violation, or $500 when the employer and employee conspire to withhold the information.

By October 1, 1997, each state must have established a directory. Maryland has appointed a task force to oversee establishment is its directory, while Virginia currently requires reporting of new hire information and is in the process of amending these requirements. The Workplace Labor Update will continue to track developments under this new legislation.