Expert Advice

By Hannah Wallace November 30, 2004

Q. I understand employers must register all newly hired employees with the state. Why must I do this, and how do I go about it?

Dan Kunkle, a labor and employment attorney with the law firm of Kunkel Miller & Hament, answers:

The Florida New Hire Reporting Act is part of a nationwide effort to improve the collection of child support payments. When a person fails to pay child support payments, the courts will issue "income deduction orders," which require employers to deduct money from the delinquent payors' paychecks, and send the money to the court, which sends it to the custodial parent. In the past, many individuals who had been ordered to pay child support were able to evade income deduction orders by switching jobs frequently. To address this problem, the U.S. Congress, in 1996, enacted a federal law that required each state to establish a program to which employers would report the name, address and Social Security number of every current and new employee. No one is exempt from this law.

Employers must report each new employee within 20 days after the employee is hired. Reports may be filed by mail, by fax or electronically.

The information is also used to prevent fraudulent payments of unemployment benefits, worker's compensation benefits and welfare benefits to individuals who are gainfully employed.

The state's Web site at contains all the information and forms needed to comply with this law.

Kunkle can be reached at (941) 365-6006 or [email protected]

Q. All these hurricanes have left our office in a distracted, irritable, overworked mess. Please suggest some easy ways to relieve the stress-now, before we all collapse!

Terence McGannon of McGannon Institute USA says: People have different stress levels, so you need to work on yourself alone. If you want to change someone else, be a good example of a stress manager.

In order to deal with stress, first get organized. Make a reasonable to-do list every day. Once you jot down everything you have to do and can do today, prioritize. Do those jobs first that have to be done or that have a time deadline. Everything else has to wait. Give yourself some free time on your to-do list. Unexpected tasks always come up. If you finish your to-do list, you're sure to find something else to do. Remember, the in-box is always full.

Get a good night's sleep. Leave the office at the office; don't bring it home. Eat well, and smart. Stay away from candy and sodas. Replace those bowls of candies with bowls of nuts. Drink lots of water. Take a brisk 15-minute walk either right after lunch or right after dinner.

If the situation is very stressful, try this breathing exercise:

Inhale slowly through your nose; hold it for the count of "2"; exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this for five deep breaths. Then, you'll be ready to take on the world.

Finally, don't try to control too much. If you are faced with a situation you can't do anything about, let it go. Don't find fault with others. If mistakes are made, or jobs are done differently than how you would have done them, learn from them and carry on.

Terence McGannon can be reached at (941) 320-9823 or [email protected].

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