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What to Do Once You Hire Your First Employee

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Congratulations! You’ve hired your first employee. Once the excitement wears off it’s time to get a few things in order so you’re squared away with the state and federal government. Let’s go over some of the most important paperwork and processes to ensure you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s.

1. Have your new employee complete onboarding forms

Your new employee should fill out a W-4 and an I-9 during the onboarding process. A W-4 will inform you of how much income tax to withhold from their paychecks. The I-9 form will prove whether your new hire is legally allowed to work in the United States. Tell your new employee to bring their driver’s license or passport, along with their social security card. Once the forms are completed and sent to the federal government, keep copies for your own records. 

2. Tell the state about your new employee

The next step is to report your new hire to whatever state they’ll be working in. States use new hire information to track people who owe certain garnishments, like child support. Be sure to report the employee within 20 days of their start date, but the earlier the better. 

3. Set up workers’ compensation insurance

Nearly every state requires employers to have workers’ comp insurance. Essentially, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that covers a worker if they hurt themselves on the job. Employers can set up workers’ compensation insurance through the state’s workers’ comp program or a commercial carrier. Workers’ comp may seem complicated, but it covers your business in case of severe injury or illness that can occur while your new employee is working. 

4. Get out those labor posters

We all love those beautiful workplace labor posters, right? I think we can all admit they’re not ideal office art, but depending on your city, county, and state, you may need to hang up certain Department of Labor posters. Research the Department of Labor’s website to find the appropriate posters for your business and area and hang them up.

5. Stay on the right side of labor law requirements

Be sure to follow labor law requirements like your state’s minimum wage, garnishments, worker classification, and more. But if you’ve legitimized your business and hired your first employee, you’re likely tight on time and may not know where to start with worker classifications and proper termination procedures. Thankfully there are helpful resources like the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Department of Labor’s guide to assist new business owners.


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