The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 required employers beginning October 1, 1998 to provide the Department of Social Services (DSS) with certain information concerning new employees so that it can establish a state directory of new hires.
The law requires the following information to be reported within twenty (20) calendar days:
- The employee's name, address, and Social Security Number.
- The employer's name, address, and Federal Identification Number.
This information may be submitted on a W4 form or an equivalent form via first class mail, facsimile, magnetically, or electronically. The term "employer" is broadly defined under this law to include persons or entities who control payment of an employee's wages, governmental entities, and labor organizations. A "new hire" under the law is defined to include any individual newly employed or an individual who has been rehired or who has returned to work after being laid off, furloughed, separated, granted leave without pay, or terminated. The "date of hire" is defined to be the first day the employee works and for which the employee is entitled to compensation from the "payer of income."
The law also sets forth penalties for non-compliance. An employer who fails to abide by the provisions of the law is subject to a civil penalty of no more than
- $25.00 for the second offense and every offense thereafter, unless the employer can demonstrate good cause for not reporting the hiring, or
- $500.00 for each and every offense if the failure is the result of a conspiracy between the employer and the employee not to supply the required report or to supply a false or incomplete report.
DSS will use the state directory of new hires to (1) locate individuals for the purposes of establishing paternity and modifying and enforcing child support obligations and (2) verifying eligibility for state programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment compensation benefits.
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