Child support: Policies and procedures for employers
Employers play a pivotal role in Minnesota's child support efforts and make valuable contributions to the lives of children. Through new hire reporting, they help match employees with support obligations and help collect more than 70 percent of all support sent to families.
Cooperation between employers and child support agencies encourages parental responsibility, reduces and prevents taxpayer costs for public assistance, and helps families provide for their children. The following links may be helpful for employers:
Federal and state laws require all employers to report new and rehired employees to a state new hire directory, whether employees owe child support or not. All states send this information to the National Directory of New Hires where child support agencies nationwide access employment information quickly and easily.
Hires and rehires include full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees. Laws require governmental agencies to report independent contractors as well. Minnesota encourages non-government employers to voluntarily report independent contractors.
Income withholding is the deduction of monthly basic support, child care support, medical support, spousal support, or past due support obligations from a parent’s wages or other sources of income.
Most child support orders require parents to pay their support through income withholding. County child support agencies work with employers and other payors of funds to automatically withhold support and maintenance obligations from employees’ pay.
Payors of funds include trustees, self-employed people, financial institutions, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation insurers, unions, individuals or companies paying independent contractors, and those who make periodic payments.
If a court has ordered a parent to pay child support and the parent is employed in any state, the parent’s employer must withhold child support from his or her paycheck when notified.
Court orders for child support may require employers to withhold medical support from employees' pay. These obligations may be separate from, or in addition to, other types of child support. The court may also order employees to provide health care coverage for their dependents. Minnesota law requires employees to disclose their medical support obligations to their employer. Employers are not required to ask their employees about medical support obligations. When an employer receives a National Medical Support Notice or a copy of a court order requiring medical support, the employer must comply with the order. Orders may require an employer to:
Withhold medical support payments from employees' income
Enroll employees' dependents in a health plan, including, but not limited to medical, dental and vision plans.
Court orders for child support may require employers to withhold child care support from employees' pay. Child care support obligations may be separate from, or in addition to, withholding for other types of child support. Child care support is money a noncustodial parent pays to the custodial parent for care of children while the custodial parent works or attends school. More information about Minnesota's laws for employers and child support are in the Employer's Guide to Minnesota Child Support Laws DHS-3177 (PDF).
Employers and payors of funds can submit income withholding payments, and send information on employee terminations through Minnesota Child Support Online (MCSO), a secure website that meets all the security requirements of the state of Minnesota.
Employers must register to use the website and must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), a user ID, and a password.MCSO.
Minnesota Child Support Online offers file upload capability, so employers tcan submit one payment file for all of their employees who pay child support, rather than entering employees' payments individually. Employers must register their business before they can use file upload. File upload is free and future enhancements will include updating health insurance and employee addresses, and verifying employment online.