California's New Employee Registry

Posted by Catherine Chukwueke | Feb 27, 2024

California employers play a crucial role in the success of the state's New Employee Registry ("NER"), a program designed to streamline the reporting of newly hired or rehired employees. This program is essential for facilitating child support enforcement by matching new hire reports against child support records.

Overview of the New Employee Registry Program

Under the New Employee Registry program, employers are required to report newly hired or rehired employees within 20 days of their start-of-work date. The start-of-work date is defined as the first day services were performed for wages. This reporting is integral to helping locate parents for the establishment of wage withholding orders or the enforcement of existing orders.

The information reported by employers is not only used within California but is also shared with the National Directory of New Hires. This national database aids in identifying late child support payments in cases where parents do not reside in the same state as their children. Given that nearly 30 percent of child support cases involve parents living in different states, the NER serves a critical function in ensuring child support compliance across state lines.

Reporting Requirements for Employers

All California employers are obligated by law to report new or rehired employees to the NER. The reporting must be done within 20 days of the start-of-work date. This requirement extends to employees who are rehired after a separation of at least 60 consecutive days.

Electronic reporting through e-Services for Business is an option for employers, with the submission of two files each month, not less than 12 days and not more than 16 days apart. Employers should refrain from submitting a report if there are no new or rehired employees during a specific period.

The following information is mandatory for reporting:

Employer Information

  • California employer payroll tax account number
  • Branch Code (if assigned)
  • Federal employer identification number
  • Business name and address
  • Contact person and phone number

Employee Information

  • First name, middle initial, and last name
  • Social Security number
  • Home address
  • Start-of-work date

How to Report

Employers can report new employees through various methods:

  • Online: Use e-Services for Business to submit a Report of New Employee(s) (DE 34).
  • Mail or Fax: Employers can download a fill-in DE 34 form, order it online, or create their own form with the required information.

When submitting a copy of the employee's W-4 form, employers must include the start-of-work date, California employer payroll tax account number, and Federal Employer Identification Number.

Penalties for Non-compliance

Failure to report new or rehired employees within the specified time frame may result in penalties. Employers may face a penalty of $24 for each unreported employee. In cases where the failure to report is intentional or involves an agreement between the employer and employee to supply false or incomplete information, a higher penalty of $490 may be charged.

Compliance with the reporting requirements is not only a legal obligation but also a vital contribution to the effective functioning of child support enforcement efforts. Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the reporting process and timelines to avoid penalties and support the broader goal of ensuring the well-being of children through proper child support mechanisms.

If you have any questions or need guidance on California employment law, contact the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke and schedule a consultation. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of employment law with confidence.

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. 

About the Author

Catherine Chukwueke

Catherine (“Cathy”) Chukwueke is the Owner and Principal Attorney of the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke, a law firm focusing on labor and employment matters and workplace investigations. Ms. Chukwueke is passionate about helping people who have been mistreated in the workplace.

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