Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Law Targets Deadbeat Parents Hiring Reports to Create More Paperwork for Employers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Law Targets Deadbeat Parents Hiring Reports to Create More Paperwork for Employers

Article excerpt

A new federal law aimed at nabbing deadbeat parents by requiring

all employers to report new hires within 20 days takes effect

tomorrow.

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

nation.

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

garnished.

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

said.

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

information.

Since the program began, Florida has collected $11 million in

unpaid child support payments that were tracked through

employment filings.

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. …

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