Employer Responsibilities

New Hires

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 requires employers to report new hires within 20 calendar days of their being hired. If reporting electronically, new hires must be reported at least twice a month, 12 to 16 days apart.

State law provides a penalty of $25 for each employee an employer knowingly fails to report and a penalty of $500 for conspiring with an employee to (1) fail to file a report or (2)submit a false or incomplete report.

Employers with employees working in more than one state are considered to be multistate employers and have the option to report new hires/rehires to only one state. To take advantage of this, employers must notify the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the state they choose to report to and all FEINs used. There are two ways to register as a multistate employer, online or by mail. For online registration, click here for the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and follow the instructions or print the Multistate Employer Notification Form below and mail or fax.

For more information, see the following:

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Terminations

An employer must deduct child support according to the Income Withholding Order/Notice or until the employee no longer works for that employer. Income earned up to the termination date and any other compensation is subject to withholding for the month in which it was paid.

An employer is required to report when an employee, who is subject to an Income withholding order, is terminated. According to Texas Family Code (TFC) § 158.211(a), employers must report no later than the seventh day after the date an employee/obligor has been terminated.

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Verification of Employment

The Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Child Support Division (CSD), may request and obtain from an employer information relating to the identity, location, employment, compensation, benefits, and income of an employee for the purpose of establishment, modification, or enforcement of a support order. [TFC § 231.302] This information is kept confidential and only used for the purpose of collecting child support.

Information must be provided directly to CSD in the most efficient and expeditious manner available, including electronic or automated transfer and interface. Failure to comply with such requests can result in the issuance of an administrative subpoena to any individual or public entity and a fine not to exceed $500.

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Medical Support

Employers may receive a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) from Texas or any other state directing health insurance coverage be provided for the child(ren) of an employee. The Order/Notice is binding on the current or a subsequent employer regardless of the “date the order”. If the employee is eligible for dependent health coverage for the child(ren), the employer must immediately enroll the child in a health insurance plan regardless of whether the employee is enrolled in the plan. [TFC § 154.187(a)]

If additional premiums are incurred as a result of adding the child to the health insurance plan, the employer shall deduct the health insurance premium from the earnings of the employee in accordance with Chapter 158 and apply the amount withheld to payment of the insurance premium. (The cost of such premiums should not exceed the state or federal garnishment limit.) [TFC §154.187(b)] (For more information, see Income Withholding.)

Upon request, the employer shall furnish the following information to the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Child Support Division (CSD):

  • Health insurance policy
  • Insurance membership cards
  • Schedule of benefits and any claim forms
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Income Withholding

Once an employer receives an Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support or Notice of an Order to Withhold Income from Child Support, an employer is considered to have been officially notified to begin income withholding from the employee names and to remit the amount withheld. The order/notice is binding on the current or a subsequent employer regardless of the date the order.

An employer must begin withholding for child support no later than the first pay period that occurs after the date the Order/Notice is received. [TFC § 158.202] The employer makes the deductions on the regular pay dates, similar to deductions for FICA and federal income tax withholding. An employer does not have to change payroll frequency or pay dates.

An employer who does not comply with the order/notice is liable for the following:

  • To the obligee for the amount not paid
  • To the obligor/employee for the amount withheld and not paid
  • For reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs [TFC § 158.206(a)]

An employer who knowingly fails to withhold the court-ordered child support may be subject to a $200 fine for each pay period the employer failed to (1) withhold income for child support or (2) remit the income withheld to the person or office identified in the Order/Notice within the time required. [TFC § 158.210)]

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Payments

The 1996 federal welfare reform law requires all states to establish a central location for processing child support payments. The purpose is to improve the accuracy of child support records and the speed in processing payments. For Texas, the centralized payment processing location is the Texas State Disbursement Unit (SDU).

Although the majority of child support payments are to be paid to the Texas SDU, an employer must submit the payments to the location specified in the Income Withholding Order/Notice. [TFC § 158.203)]

Employers with 50 or more employees are required to remit child support payments electronically no later than two business day after the pay date. [TFC § 158.203(b)]

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