5.5.3 Top up
The CSRC Act allows the Registrar to use funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to 'top up' the amounts received from employers in limited circumstances.
CSRC Act section 4, section 45, section 47, section 77, section 78
Where Services Australia is collecting child support from a payer's salary or wages, the Registrar sends the employer a notice under CSRC Act section 45(1) that instructs them to:
- make periodic deductions from salary and wages paid to the payer, from a specified day in accordance with the specified weekly deduction rate
- pay the Registrar the amounts deducted each month by the 7th day of the following month, and
- give the Registrar notice of the amounts deducted (section 47(1)) (5.2.3).
If the Registrar is satisfied that an employer has deducted the required amounts from a payer's salary or wages, but has failed to pay them to the Registrar on time, the Registrar can transfer equivalent amounts from consolidated revenue for payment to the payee. The Registrar must do this if the deduction has not been received by the closing day of the month in which the employer was required to pay the amount. The closing day for any month is 9 days before the first Wednesday of the following month (section 4(1)).
The Registrar can also transfer funds from consolidated revenue to the Account for payment to a payee when:
- an employer remits less than the total expected amount to the Registrar and they are required to deduct amounts for more than 1 payer, and
- the employer has not advised the Registrar of the particulars of the payment (section 78).
The transfer of funds to the Account in these circumstances is commonly referred to as 'top up'.
The Registrar must recover any amounts transferred from consolidated revenue for top up. The debt is recoverable from the employer if they deducted the amount from the payer's salary or wages, but failed to remit it to the Registrar. If the employer did not deduct the amount from the payer's salary, the payer is still obliged to pay that amount in child support to the Registrar and the Registrar will recover the top up debt from those payments when made.