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Child Support information for employers
If you employ a person who is required to pay child support, there are some important things you need to know to meet your obligations under Australian law.
You need to know
The impact of separation on the workplace can be significant for employers. Possible impacts can include:
- increased absenteeism
- staff turnover
- commercial losses, and
- workplace accidents
As an employer of a separated parent, you can help minimise this impact and play an important role in ensuring the children of separated parents receive the support they need.
You can also refer your employees or contractors to separated parents which features helpful information, links to support services, care and child support payment calculators, translated information and much more.
A separated parent can choose to have their child support payments automatically deducted from their pay on a regular basis. We may also ask you to deduct child support for us if we are collecting overdue child support.
As an employer, you are legally required to deduct child support payments from an employee or contractor’s salary or wages if we ask you to.
We will contact you to confirm you employ the person before we ask you to start making any deductions from their pay. We will not discuss your employee's personal affairs with you.
We will call you or send you a questionnaire asking you to confirm:
- the employee or contractor receives payments from you
- their salary or wage or other payment details
- how and when they are paid, and
- that the details we have for your business are correct
You can confirm the employee’s details by completing the Confirmation of a person’s employment form.
If you receive the questionnaire, you are legally obliged to complete it. If you do not employ the person, we will need you to confirm this in the questionnaire.
Please fax or mail your completed reply to us.
If you do employ the person, we will send you a letter that tells you how much child support to deduct. We will also send a copy of the letter to them.
You must tell us if any of the following occurs because this can change your responsibilities to us:
- they leave, or you become aware that they intend to leave your employment
- their pay cycle changes
- their employment status changes, for example, from full time to part time work
- your business changes name or address, or merges with another company, or
- you vary the deductions you send us and also tell us the reason for the variations
If we talk to you over the phone, you should know all our calls are recorded. Recording calls helps resolve factual disputes and make us more accountable. Call recording is not optional. If you do not wish to have your conversations with us recorded, you can contact us by fax, postal mail or electronic mail.
As an employer, if we ask you to make deductions for your employees or contractors, you have legal obligations under Child Support legislation:
- you must make the deductions we have requested and send them to us by the due date
- you must advise the person in writing how much child support has been deducted each pay period, for example, on their pay slip
- you must keep appropriate records of the child support you deduct and send them to us
- you must respect the person’s privacy and not tell anyone, other than the person in question, that you deduct child support from their pay
- it is illegal to discriminate against any current or potential employee or contractor because of their child support responsibilities. Discrimination includes charging a fee for making child support deductions under a legal obligation
- you cannot make a deduction of child support that leaves the person with a net pay, after tax and child support deductions, of less than the Protected Earnings Amount, unless deductions are made under a notice pursuant to Section 72A
- you must make sure you deduct the amount we tell you to—you cannot change this even if the person, their solicitor or anyone else asks you to
- payments to us are due no later than the seventh day of the month following deductions
If you don’t pay on time, the money will be late getting to the other parent and their children.
If you do not meet your legal obligations, we can impose penalties. For example, if you are late making payments to us, you may incur a late payment penalty. We may not collect these penalties in certain circumstances. For example, if you tell us the delay was beyond your control.
If you do not make deductions when you are required to, or make deductions and do not pay them to us, you may be charged with an offence. A court may impose a fine, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both. You may also be ordered to pay legal costs.
You are required by law to make child support deductions if we ask you. If your employee or contractor is unhappy with the deductions you are making, ask them to call 131 272 to discuss their deductions with us.
If your employee, contractor or any other representative, including a solicitor, gives instructions to change the amount of the employer deductions, please ask them to call 131 272.
We may ask you to deduct child support payments from an employee’s or contractor’s:
- salary or wages
- bonuses or allowances including Parental Leave Pay
- certain retirement or termination payments
- payments for labour under some contracts
- other remuneration such as company directors’ fees, or
- independent contractor’s payments
There are 2 ways we can ask you to deduct child support from your employees or contractors. How you need to make deductions will depend on the:
- person’s employment status with your workplace, and
- type of letter we send you requesting deductions—either a Notice to Commence Child Support Deductions or Notice to Pay Money Directly to Child Support Registrar Pursuant to Section 72A
If you receive a Notice to Commence Child Support Deductions, you are legally required to deduct the amount of child support that we ask you to.
A notice pursuant to section 72A or a section 72A notice means that some of the money you would normally pay to your employee or contractor must be paid to us.
We offer a range of payment options to provide you with quick, secure and convenient methods to send us child support deductions.
The Child Support employer calculator will help you work out your employee’s or contractor’s net pay, taking into account child support payments, the PEA and basic tax liability.
Staying Connected is a half day workplace program to help dads deal with separation. It is designed for businesses with more than 12 people.