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SD Labor Department to ask employers for more information about their workers

By Bob Mercer

Capitol Correspondent

PIERRE — A few years from now, employers in South Dakota might have to provide more data about their employees to the state Unemployment Insurance Division.

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Current state rules require the employee’s name, Social Security number and amount of income on the quarterly report.

State Department of Labor and Regulation leaders want to add the worksite location, hours worked, hourly wage and the occupation code and title.

Deputy secretary Marcia Hultman outlined the project Tuesday to members of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council.

She said preparations are under way to seek a cost estimate for converting the state’s computer-based recordkeeping system. The project is in discussion by a team of state government officials.

“Right now what we’re doing is very exploratory,” Hultman said.

Secretary Pam Roberts, who retires next month, said there wouldn’t be legislation introduced “until probably 2015.”

Roberts acknowledged there will be costs to businesses in making the conversion and she doesn’t want it perceived as a government mandate.

“It’s a big change,” Roberts said.

Hultman and Roberts said the department receives requests for data that currently aren’t available.

Two laws passed by the Legislature this year regarding state licensing boards and technical-institute graduates are examples of the demand for more information about South Dakota’s workforce.

South Dakota Retailers Association executive director Shawn Lyons said he’d like to be involved in the planning process. He serves on the advisory council.

“I would hate to see it any more onerous,” Lyons said.

Another council member, Carol Hinderaker, of Watertown, said she knows from her experience as a human resources manager how complex payroll can be for a private business.

She said overtime and paid time off will complicate the income reporting.

“It’ll be a challenge — a challenge worth the results,” Hinderaker said.