In the state of Louisiana, among the bogs and the cities rebuilding after last year’s Hurricane Katrina, there are two labor laws that require employers to report new hires and re-hires to the state. The first law is called Act 97, signed into effect in 1997, and the second law was the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, or PRWORA, signed in 1996.
The laws give employers in Louisiana 20 days to report hires and re-hires to the state. If not, employers can face civil fines, as much as $25 per person for a newly hired employee. Or, if the state can prove that you and a new hire conspired not to report them to the state, Louisiana can fine you as much as $500 per hiree.
How can the state of Louisiana track down employers who fail to adequately report their new hires? With the help of the federal government, that’s how. Every quarter during the year, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, or the OCSE, sends out a report on information of employers who aren’t meeting the labor law’s reporting requirements.
The state then uses this report to send out warning letters to the employers on the list. The letters remind employers what the law says about reporting new hires, the letter also tells employers exactly how they can follow the law in the state of Louisiana going forward.
The state officials also track Louisiana employers on their own, to look for patterns of irregular reporting among employers and to flagrant and persistent violations of the new hire labor laws. The state leaves it up to the employer to contact them with any questions or issues about new hire data that the employer may be having, like say that you have incorrectly put the wrong employer federal identification number on one employee’s new hire file.