/ Law Modifies Child Support Payment SystemNovember 25, 2021
On November 18, 2021, Law No. 21,389 was published in the Official Gazette, which created the “National Registry of Child Support Debtors” and amended several legal bodies in order to “perfect the system of child support payment”. It also modified the law on abandonment of the family and child support payment. The latter has the following effects on labor matters:
Liability for non-withholding
If the individual or legal entity (employer) who is required to withhold the child support disobeys the relevant court order, it will incur a fine, for tax benefit, equivalent to double the amount ordered to be withheld; which does not prevent the corresponding execution order from being issued against it or against the provider.
Time limit for notifying the contract termination
The employer must give notice to the court of the termination of the employment relationship with the child-support provider within ten business days. In case of non-compliance, the court will impose the abovementioned fine.
In the event that pay in lieu of notice is applicable, the employer shall be required to withhold from it the amount equivalent to the child support for the month following the date of termination of the employment relationship, for payment to the beneficiary. If a legal or conventional severance pay is applicable, the employer shall be required to withhold from it the percentage corresponding to the amount of the child support in the worker’s monthly income, for the purpose of making the payment to the beneficiary.
Authorization of settlements
In the event that such withholdings are appropriate, the ministers of faith, prior to the ratification of the settlement, must demand from the employer the accreditation of having made the discount, the withholding and the payment in the account ordered by the court. This is also applicable to the official of the Labor Inspectorate who authorizes a conciliation meeting. In order to comply with the foregoing, the official of the Labor Inspectorate or the minister of faith, as the case may be, must verify whether the employer is subject to the obligation to judicially withhold the child support, for which purpose (s)he must request the last three monthly pay slips showing the corresponding deduction for judicial withholding, if any, prior to the termination of the labor relationship.
The employer shall be required to declare in writing its duty to judicially withhold the child support, especially when such withholding is not specified in the monthly pay slips.
Liability for non-compliance
Failure to comply with this obligation will make the employer jointly and severally liable for the payment of the child support not deducted, withheld and paid, without prejudice to the compensation of damages that its omission may cause.
Payments ordered in a labor lawsuit
If there is judicial intervention, the court, once the total amount to be paid in favor of the worker has been established, will order the employer to deduct, withhold and pay the child support, and accompany the proof of payment. For these purposes, the employer shall inform the court of its duty to withhold the child support.
If the employer fails to comply with one or more of the aforementioned obligations, in addition to the fine for the benefit of the tax authorities, it shall be jointly and severally liable for the payment of the child support not deducted, withheld and paid.