Washington State and federal law require that all employers—whether a business with thousands of employees or a family with one child care worker or housekeeper—file a report within 20 days of hiring (or rehiring) an employee.
New-hire reporting was initially adopted at the state level, with several goals in mind:
assist in the collection of child support
reduce dependence on welfare programs
help detect workers’ compensation fraud, and
help detect unemployment insurance fraud.
It proved so successful at the state level that Congress, as part of welfare reform, chose to mandate its use nationwide.
To file a new-hire report, you will need to supply basic information about yourself (including a federal employer ID number) as well as information on your new employee, such as name, address, social security number and date of birth.
If you are a Washington State employer, you can submit your report online, by telephone, by fax, on magnetic media, or by mail. More detailed information about each of these options is available online.
If you are a multi-state employer, you have the option of reporting all of your new hires to only one of the states in which you have employees. To do so, you must report electronically and you must notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the state you select for reporting.
If you use a payroll service, it is important to know if they include new-hire reporting among the standard services they provide for you, as the penalty for failure to file can be significant. You are subject to a civil penalty of $25 per month, per employee—or more if the failure is considered to be the result of a conspiracy between you and your employee.
You are also subject to civil penalty—up to $1,100 per employee—if you do not properly prepare and retain a Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification for each of your employees. You must retain the form in your files until the later of three years after the employee’s hire date or one year after the termination date.