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New Hire Paperwork: What’s Required and What’s Recommended?

Employers must comply with numerous requirements, including paperwork and notices, when hiring new employees. In addition to required new hire paperwork, documentation is recommended to help administer payroll, benefits, and other HR responsibilities. Here are some key forms to keep in mind:

Required New Hire Paperwork:

  • Form I-9. An I-9 Form must be completed for each new hire to verify the individual’s identity and that they are authorized to work in the United States. To complete Section 2 of the I-9, employees must present documents for this verification. The I-9 Form includes a List of Acceptable Documents (List A, List B, and List C). An employee must present one document from List A or one document from List B and one document from List C.

    o List A documents: establish both identity and employment authorization
    o List B documents: establish identity only
    o List C documents: establish employment authorization only

    Employers must generally inspect Section 2 documents in the employee's physical presence. However, due to the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has offered employers some flexibility. Specifically, from April 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021, the requirement that employers inspect the I-9 documentation in-person applies only to those employees who physically report to work at a company location on any regular, consistent, or predictable basis, according to the DHS. If employees hired on or after April 1, 2021 work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions, they are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements until they go back into the workplace on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the DHS terminates the flexible option, whichever is earlier.

  • Form W-4. All new hires must complete a W-4 to determine the amount of federal income tax to withhold from their wages. Several states also require a tax withholding form. Employers should ensure that they are using the latest version of the form, which may change each year. 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.

  • Wage and hour. Under federal law, employers that use the tip credit must first notify tipped employees of:

    o The minimum cash wage that will be paid;
    o The tip credit amount, which cannot exceed the value of the tips actually received by the employee;
    o That all tips received by the tipped employee must be retained by the employee except for a valid tip pooling arrangement limited to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.

  • State and local notices. Many states and local jurisdictions also require that employers provide specific notices to employees at the time of hire. These required notices may cover state disability insurance, state-run retirement programs, leave entitlements, harassment and discrimination, workers' compensation, unemployment, and other employment-related benefits and protections. Many states require employers to provide, in writing, the employer’s business name, address, and telephone number; the employee’s rate of pay and regular payday; and certain other information. 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 new hires are provided 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. Make sure you provide new hires with your policies related to preventing the spread of COVID-19, such as any mask and vaccination requirements.

  • 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.

This story originally published on HR Tip of the Week – a blog providing practical information on hiring, benefits, pay, and more – by ADP®. Learn more about how ADP’s small business expertise and easy-to-use tools can simplify payroll & HR at adp.com

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