It is not new, but many employers (especially those lacking a Human Resources Department or in-house counsel) are failing to comply with state and federal laws on reporting newly-hired employees. Under the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, and corresponding sections of the Texas Family Code, all Texas employers must report information concerning newly-hired employees to a state agency within 20 calendar days of the hire.
The reports serve two primary purposes. First, the reports are used to track parents who owe child support. Second, the reports are used to detect and eliminate fraud under various social programs, including unemployment benefits. Regarding this latter issue, a new employee’s wages are normally not reported to the Texas Workforce Commission for three to four months following hire. By that time, an employee may have been working a new job but also continuing to file for and receive unemployment for several months. By using the reports, the TWC can detect such fraud much earlier, which benefits all employers who pay into the system.
And of course, there are penalties for failing to comply with the reporting requirement. They are relatively modest, but reporting new hires can be done online and is so easy that there is no reason not to and risk incurring these penalties. Please contact my firm if you need any additional information or assistance with this or any other issue concerning compliance with state and federal employment laws.