U.S. businesses have access to one of the largest talent pools in the world. But even so, there are state and federal employment requirements that can complicate the hiring process.
Luckily, we've unraveled the process and presented you with some guidelines and forms you'll likely need to give to each new hire to ensure you're meeting state and federal requirements.
Forms and Paperwork you may Need to Hire Employees
It's an employer's job to provide new hires with the forms they need before they receive their first paycheck. These forms must be completed by every employee - without exception.
After employees complete the necessary paperwork, make sure to keep them stored in a secure location in case the U.S Department of Labor requests the records. You may also need the paperwork if you're audited by state or local agencies.
Related: The New Hire Onboarding Checklist
Form W-4 for Federal Income Tax Withholding
All new hires must complete Form W-4, a form that collects personal information such as the employee's number of dependents and marital status, and is used to calculate withholding for federal income taxes. Form W-4 was updated in 2021. While there are older versions available, you should use the 2021 Form-W-4 (or the most recent version if you're reading in the future) to ensure withholdings from new employees are accurate.
It's also important to know that employees are able to change their Form W-4 as frequently as they'd like. It is your responsibility as the employer to manage and keep track of the changes to make sure employee paychecks reflect the changes they've made.
Every employer who pays remuneration, including non-cash payments above a certain threshold for the year for services performed by an employee must file a Form W-2 for each employee - even if the employee is related to the employer - from whom:
- Income, social security, or Medicare tax was withheld.
- Income tax would have been withheld if the employee had claimed no more than one withholding allowance or had not claimed exemption from withholding on Form W-4.
You can find a copy of Form W-2 for download here (or at the IRS's website for their most recent versions of forms).
Form I-9 Employee Eligibility Form
Form I-9 documents verify that employees are eligible to work in the U.S. This form must be completed by every new hire. Plus, you'll need to review and photocopy some form (or combination of forms) of legal identification - such as a passport or state identification - to keep on file along with the form.
There are two steps involved in completing the I-9 form:
- The employee fills out the I-9 Form.
- You review and confirm that the documents provided are adequate and accurate.
You are not required to submit the form. However, if an immigration officer visits your company, you must have these documents completed and verified, so keep them in a safe place.
Need help verifying an employee's eligibility. The E-Verify system is a government tool that uses the information from Form I-9 to confirm that an employee is eligible to work in the U.S.
Job Application Form
Requiring applicants to fill out a job application form ensures that your company is protected from applicants who make fraudulent claims. In this form, request information regarding education, previous jobs, contacts for background/reference checks, and more. Also, ask them to complete a series of statements verifying the information provided is true and correct.
State Withholding and Registration
This registration is designed to help your state collect child support payments from employees. However, regulations vary by state. So, be sure to contact your state department - or visit your state's government website - to determine what information needs to be collected.
Other State Regulations
Different states have different regulations. For example, California has one of the strictest set of requirements for hiring employees. In California, employees are required to fill out additional forms for health insurance, workers compensation, disability, sexual harassment, and more.
Look into what forms may be required in your state, and ensure you give them to new hires.
An employee handbook is an important document: It ensures that employees are aware of the various company policies and procedures. If you don't have one, you should create one.
All new employees should receive an employee handbook, and be required to sign that they have read and understand your company's policies. By doing this, you can mitigate potential lawsuits and help prevent employees from becoming toxic to your workplace.