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Employers play a vital role in family self sufficiency

FAST.EASY.SECURE: New Options are available to make child support payments

DCSS Online Employer Services

Employer Resources from State Department of Child Support Services

  1. Download the "California Child Support, A Guide for Business"
  2. To find an Employer Workshop or Event, click here
  3. Subscribe to the DCSS Employer Update email list to receive tips, information, the Employer Services Newsletter and helpful features for employers.


Data shows that 65% of all child support payments are made by wage withholding, so it's clear that employers play a vital role in a successful child support program.Through the processing of Income Withholding Order (IWO) and National Medical Support Notices (NMSN), employers are helping to ensure that food, clothing, shelter, and health insurance coverage is provided for children all over the world.

Summary of Employer Responsibilities (further details provided at the bottom of this page)

  1. New Hire Reporting: report all new hires or rehires within 20 days
  2. Notice to Withhold Wages: withhold from wages and send to child support agency within 10 days of service
  3. Employee Information Request: provide relevant employment and income information in their possession to the Agency upon request

Liability for Noncompliance: Employers are civilly liable for failure to comply with the following:

  1. IWO and new hire: California law expressly prohibits employers from firing, punishing, or refusing to hire an employee because of a child support withholding order
  2. IWO: employers who do not comply with withholding orders will be personally liable for the support and may be subject to contempt of court charges

Employee information requests an employer that fails to provide relevant employment information to the local child support agency within 30 days of receiving a request may be assessed a civil penalty of a maximum of $1,000, plus attorney fees and costs 

Income Withholding Order aka "Wage Assignment"

Once a court orders child support, an Income Withholding Order (IWO) that is served on the employer of the person owing child support. The IWO lists the amount of support to be withheld from each paycheck and may include arrears.The notice is mandatory and can be enforced as a court order against an employer who does not honor it, and can include money sanctions.


  1. Employer receives income withholding order (and blank request for hearing and statement of employees rights)
  2. Withholding order is effective as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days after it is received
  3. Employer delivers papers to the employee – a copy of the IWO, the attached statement of rights, and blank request for hearing within 7 days of receiving the IWO
  4. Income is withheld from each payment to the employee and sent to the address directed on the IWO, general the State distribution unit, within 10 days of being withheld.
  5. Withholding continues until the employee no longer works for the employer or until the court or child support agency terminates the order (Note: Employers should hold the IWO if there is any chance the employee will return – or say the IWO is still effective and binding on the employer if the employee returns to the employment )
  6. If employment terminates, the employer must inform the local child support agency immediately of the by completing a Termination of Benefits/Employment Notice (DCSS 0114) found here.
  7. Withholding is limited to 50% of the paying party's net paycheck, absent a court order for up to 60%
  8. Employer may defray the cost of withholding with $1.50 per pay period deduction from the employees wages, and it cannot come from the support amount
  9. Almost all income, including in-kind income, is considered income for support withholding. Check with the department of Child Support Services if you are unsure whether a source is subject to withholding

Employee Information Requests

Family code section 17512 requires that upon receipt of a written request from the Department of Child Support Services, every employer shall cooperate with and provide relevant employment and income information in their possession to the agency. Relevant employment and income information shall include, but is not be limited to:

  1. Whether the person has or has not been employed by an employer
  2. The full name of the employee, or the first and middle initial and last name of the employee
  3. The employee's last known residence address
  4. The employee's date of birth
  5. The employee's social security number
  6. The dates of employment
  7. Current rate of pay
  8. All earnings paid to the employee in the prior tax year
  9. Other earnings (for definition, see family code section 5206)
  10. Whether dependent health insurance coverage is available to the employee through employment or membership in a labor organization