A new federal law aimed at nabbing deadbeat parents by requiring
all employers to report new hires within 20 days takes effect
The law, which sets up a federal registry, should make it more
difficult for parents to escape making child support payments.
It also means more paperwork for many businesses across the
But Florida already has such reporting rules for companies with
more than 250 employees, and smaller Florida companies won't be
forced to report until Oct. 1, 1998.
Under the regulations, employers must submit to designated
state agencies the name and Social Security number of every new
worker they hire. State agencies will use the new-hire reports
to locate deadbeat parents. The reports also could help states
prevent fraudulent workers compensation and unemployment claims.
The states also will supply the information to a federal
directory, as required under the Personal Responsibility and
Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
"Each state will have to be able to report to the federal
government by Oct. 1," said David Siegel, a spokesman for the
child support enforcement office of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
Workers who owe child support payments will have their wages
The new program is expected to increase child support payments
by $6.4 billion over the next 10 years and reduce federal
welfare payments by $1.1 billion over the same period, Siegel
But the reporting also means additional costs for employers.
"This is repetitive information that is already being provided
to Florida," said Dan Edelman, managing partner of Presser
Lehnen & Edelman, a Jacksonville CPA firm.
Companies already submit information about new employees every
three months as part of the unemployment compensation system.
But proponents say the Florida law requiring more timely
reports, in effect since 1995, has speeded the collection of
Since the program began, Florida has collected $11 million in
unpaid child support payments that were tracked through
Payroll processing firms such as Paychex and ADP will charge
employers $2 for every new-hire report filed electronically to
the appropriate state agency.
Each state is responsible for enforcement and setting
penalties. Florida can impose a $500 fine on companies that
refuse to submit the information, said Chuck Springston, a
spokesman for the Florida Department of Revenue.
The penalty in Georgia is $25 for each failure to report, said
Janice Alford, a manager in the state's Department of Human
Resource's child support enforcement unit. …