HR Tip of the Week

Posted on  |  Hiring and onboarding

New Hire Paperwork: Requirements & Recommendations

Various federal, state, and local laws require that employees complete certain paperwork at the time of hire. In addition to these requirements, other paperwork is recommended to help you administer payroll, benefits, and other HR responsibilities. Here are some of these key forms:

Required new hire paperwork:

  • Form I-9. An I-9 Form must be completed to verify that the new hire is authorized to work in the United States. Section 1 of the form must be completed by the end of the employee's first day of work for pay (but it cannot be completed until the employee has been offered, and has accepted, the job). Employers must complete Section 2 within three business days of the employee's start date. For example, if an employee begins work on a Monday, Section 2 must be completed by Thursday.

    Note: In November 2016, the government released a revised version of the I-9. Employers were required to begin using the new version by January 22, 2017.
  • Form W-4. All new hires must complete a W-4 to determine the amount of federal income tax to withhold from their wages. A number of states also require a tax withholding form. If the employee refuses to complete a W-4, the general best practice is to withhold as if the employee were single and claiming no withholding allowances. If the employee has questions or asks for advice on how to complete a W-4, instruct them to speak with a tax advisor.
  • Notice of Coverage Options. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers must provide a Notice of Coverage Options to all new hires within 14 days of their start date. This requirement applies even if the employer doesn't offer health insurance and/or the employee is not eligible for health insurance.
  • State and local notices. Many states and local jurisdictions also require that employers provide specific notices to employees at the time of hire. For example, California requires employers to provide new hires with notices related to state disability insurance, paid family leave, workers' compensation, and other employment-related protections. Provide new hire notices in accordance with your state and local requirements.
  • New hire reporting. Federal law requires that employers submit certain information to their state regarding each new hire within 20 days of the employee's start date, but several states have shorter timeframes. New hire reporting is included in many RUN Powered by ADP® packages. If you have to fulfill these responsibilities on your own, you have several options, such as submitting the new hire's W-4 or an equivalent form. Check your state's new hire reporting program for details.

Recommended new hire paperwork:

  • Handbook acknowledgment. After providing new hires with a copy of your employee handbook, they should sign a form acknowledging that they have received and are responsible for complying with all company policies. Make sure you give employees enough time to read and ask questions about the handbook before they are required to sign the acknowledgment form.
  • Payroll authorizations. If you offer direct deposit, provide new hires with a direct deposit authorization if they would like their pay deposited directly into their bank account each pay period. A payroll deduction authorization should also be provided for voluntary deductions, such as health insurance premiums and retirement savings plans.
  • Benefits information. All new hires should receive information about the benefit programs you offer as well as any forms required to enroll.

    Note: Employers with health benefit and/or retirement plans must provide a summary plan description (SPD) to individuals when they become a participant in the plan or a beneficiary under such a plan. New employees must receive a copy of the SPD within 90 days after becoming covered by the plan.
  • Emergency contact. An emergency contact form lets you know who to contact in the case of an emergency. This form should be completed within the employee's first few days of work.
  • Receipt of company property. If you provide your new hire with company property, such as a laptop, cell phone, or key, have the employee complete a receipt of company property form. This acknowledges that the employee has received the company property listed, that they will maintain it in good condition, and that they will return it upon separation from the company, or earlier if requested.


The forms listed above can be found in the New Hire Paperwork section of HR411®. Consider using a checklist to ensure that you complete and provide all required documents to each new hire. And don't forget that the employee's first day should be about more than just completing paperwork. Look for ways to ease their transition into your company by facilitating introductions with co-workers, reviewing their roles and responsibilities, and establishing goals.

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