Minnesota law requires employers, trustees, self-employed persons and other payors of funds to withhold basic support, medical support and spousal maintenance. Payors of funds includes individuals or companies who pay independent contractors, workers' compensation insurers, unions, and others who make periodic payments to persons with court-ordered support obligations.
Employee Just Hired
If you are an employer doing business in Minnesota, you are required to report all newly hired employees and to assist with child support collections. Under the law, employers must report all newly hired employees to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Child support staff will use this information to locate missing parents and to collect child support. Newly hired employees include all full-time and part-time workers, whether temporary or permanent, student employees, and employees rehired more than 90 days after layoff. All employers, including private, nonprofit, and government agencies must report.
You are required to report the following:
- Employee's name
- Employee's address
- Employee's Social Security number
- Employee's date of birth, if known
- Employer's name
- Employer's address
- Employer's federal identification number
Employers need to report this information within 15 days of hiring a new employee. Report all employees except domestic workers employed in the home of a private individual and employees who will be employed for less than two months with gross earnings of less than $250 per month. This new law replaces the previous law that required Minnesota employers to ask all new hires whether they have a court-ordered child support obligation. Failure to report a new hire may result in a fine of up to $500 per employee. Call the Department of Human Services at (651) 227-4661 or at (800) 672-4473 to report new hires, or if you have any questions regarding new hire reporting.
Employee Just Terminated
You are required to report a termination within 10 days of the employee's termination date. You must include the employee's last known address and the name and address of the new employer, if known. You must also withhold support from the last paycheck or reimbursement check, which may include a lump sum such as sick pay, vacation pay or severance pay. If an employee returns to work and income withholding was in effect when employment was terminated, it must be implemented immediately, just as it would be for a new employee.
Bonus Payments, Severance Payments, Lump Sums
The Child Support Enforcement Section must be notified whenever there is a lump sum over $500 to be paid either to a current employee, or to an employee whose employment is about to end. This includes, but is not limited to, severance pay, accumulated sick pay, vacation pay, bonuses, commissions, or other pay or benefits.
When paying a lump sum in excess of $500 to a current employee, you must notify the Child Support Enforcement Section of the amount to be paid, and hold the entire lump sum for 30 days after the date on which you would otherwise have paid the lump sum to the employee. If you receive an order or letter from the Child Support Enforcement Section regarding the lump sum, you must follow the requirements of that order or letter.
Employer Responsibilities for Income Withholding
Begin income withholding immediately upon receipt of notice, whether from the employee or the Child Support Enforcement Section, or the courts. Minnesota law requires withholding to start no later than the first pay period within 14 days of the date on the notice you receive from the Child Support Enforcement Section.
The support check must include the employee's name, Social Security number, child support participant number (if known), pay period dates, and the date you paid the employee the remainder of the income. You must remit each amount to the Child Support Payment Center within seven days of the date you paid the employee the remainder of the income (that is, within seven days of the date of the employee's payday for the given pay period). Withholding remains in effect until you are notified in writing by the child support agency of any changes to court-ordered income withholding. When income withholding for child support is in place, employees have no authority to change their withholding status, or to request that you change or stop child support income withholding. All changes must be at the direction of the Child Support Enforcement Section.
Self-employed obligors have the same liabilities and duties as other payors of funds, in addition to those responsibilities associated with being an individual with a support obligation.
Employer Duties Regarding Medical Support or Insurance
The law states that you must ask new employees whether their court orders require them to provide health insurance for their dependents, or to pay medical support by income withholding. You will then need to provide each employee with all the necessary forms to enroll dependents in an available insurance plan, or to begin withholding the medical support payments according to the court order. If you willfully fail to comply with medical support withholding, you may be liable for any health or dental expenses incurred by a dependent during the period of time the dependent was eligible to be enrolled in the insurance program. You may also be liable for any premium costs incurred because of failure to comply. You could also be subject to a court finding of contempt and to a fine of $500.
Upon request, information must be provided to the obligee or the Child Support Enforcement Section about medical/dental coverage, including the name of the insurer. You are required to forward a copy of the court order to the health and dental insurance companies that are providing dependent coverage. When an order for dependent coverage is in effect and employment is terminated, notify the obligee or the Child Support Enforcement Division within 10 days of the termination date, and include information about conversion privileges under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).
Employer Duties Regarding Changes in Employment Status
When an employee is laid off from work, you must notify the Child Support Enforcement Section within 10 days of the date of the layoff. In the event that your employee works less than full time in any given pay period, consult the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) to determine the appropriate amount that can be lawfully withheld from the employee's wages or other income.
In the event that your employee becomes eligible for workers' compensation benefits, notify the Child Support Enforcement Section within 10 days of the date of the employee's eligibility. Include the name, address and phone number of the insurance company, the employee's claim number, and, if known, the estimated period of time during which the employee will be eligible to receive benefits.
Employer's Duties Regarding Multiple Withholding or Insufficient Income
When there is more than one withholding request for a particular employee, all court-ordered support amounts must be withheld if there is adequate disposable income available. Use the guidelines of the Consumer Credit Protection Act to determine this. In the event that there is not enough disposable income to pay multiple support amounts, Minnesota law requires you to pro-rate the amount available among all of the employee's child support cases.
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