If you are paying your child support through deductions from your wages, it might feel as though your employer is deliberately trying to make life difficult for you, or embarrass you, but the truth is your employer has to comply with the law and may be penalized for not doing it.
Providing Information About Employees
Employers are required to provide truthful information about their employees under the Child Support Act 1991. If you provide false information to your employer, that they knowingly pass on to the CSA, your employer can also be prosecuted for this. Employers have to be pro-active about providing information too: if they are seen to be delaying the process of collecting child support, or are obstructive about providing information about you as their employee, they can be criminally liable. Your employer can be fined up to £1000 if they are found guilty of any of these offences.
Types Of Information That The CSA Requires
The CSA generally ask employers to confirm a number of details in relation to employees who need to pay child support. These include confirming an employee’s identity; supplying details of their address and other contact details; how much money they earn either on a wage or salary basis; and their bank account details. It is also common for the CSA to send forms to employers to pass on to their employees, but only if the CSA does not have an address for you or if you have not responded to letters from them. Less frequently, an officer from the CSA can interview an employee at their place of work. Employers are required to allow this to happen, and the officer is entitled to speak to any adult on the premises at the time. An employer who ‘obstructs’ an officer in this way may be liable to criminal prosecution.
An employer has a legal responsibility to set up a deduction from earnings order and to pay the money that has been deducted from your earnings. Once an employer has deducted money from your wages, they must forward the deduction on to the CSA within a specific timescale. If they do not do this, they may again be subject to criminal prosecution. Your employer must pay the money to the CSA within nineteen days of the month after the month that you have been paid. This means, therefore, that if you are paid on the last day of each month, your employer must have sent the money to the CSA by the 19th day of the following month. Each deduction should be sent on or around the same day each month thereafter. If your employer is erratic with payment dates, the CSA may contact you or them about it. It is your employer’s duty to ensure that they deduct the right amount from your earnings. If you have a query about how much is being deducted, you should contact them in the first instance. If your query is about calculation of the amount you owe, you should contact the CSA.
Making Payments To The CSA
Employers make payments to the CSA by bank transfer, internet or telephone banking, or by cheque. The CSA prefers to deal with payments electronically, however, which is also less time-consuming for the employer.
When You Leave Your Job
If the numbers of hours you work change, or you leave the job, or are made redundant, your employer is required to tell the CSA. This is intended to ensure that the CSA keeps track of the payments that you have made and whether they need to make a reduction or increase of the amount payable, depending on your circumstances.