Compliance Corner: Onboarding Paperwork – a Quick Review

Hiring a new employee can be quite the process.  What and when a potential employee should complete what form is very important in order to be certain you are remaining compliant with prevailing employment laws.

Step 1: The Initial Documents

Initially, you have the job application, which is an important step. Make certain your application complies with prevailing employment laws. Remembering you must be compliant with those laws in the state, county or city in which you are hiring and not just in the state, county or city your office is in.  A major compliance concern is any local “Ban the Box” rules and salary history questions. Since a majority of the country already has “Ban the Box” regulations and the country is trending towards banning salary history questions, it best to leave questions like these off of the application documents.

Also, at this time, determine if any pre-interview testing is needed (e.g. software aptitude, typing words per minutes, or personality tests).

To maintain appropriate records and to comply with federal law, you should keep all applications on file for at least 12 months, and it is a good idea to keep the records for at least two years to comply with age discrimination laws.

Step 2: Job Offer Documents

After you have decided to offer a job to the candidate, the first step is to call and offer the job to them. Follow the call with a job offer letter. The letter should provide the employee with information about wages, official start date, and any other key terms of employment, particularly any contingencies regarding the employment offer. Ensure that offer letter does not undermine the at-will status.  Having a section the candidate can sign and date to accept the offer is a good practice.

After a job offer is made you can give the potential employee documentation that is commonly referred to as the Onboarding Forms.  The forms include a background and drug test authorization, a direct deposit form, the federal and applicable state W4 forms.  Also, if applicable, Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) forms can be completed. Inform the candidate of any other terms that the offer is contingent upon, such as the completion of the Form I-9.  Depending on the status of any contingencies, the Form I-9 could be completed at this point as well.  Before performing any background check, ensure that all required releases are signed by the potential employee, provide written disclosures, and comply with any FCRA requirements.

Step 3: Starting Day

Depending on the type of employer, the items for the first day of employment can differ, and thus a blended Step 2 and 3 can be established.  Typically for staffing companies, the day the contingent offer of employment was made and the candidate was placed in the employee pool, can be considered their “hire date” and can be used on page 2 of the Form I-9.  In a similar fashion, items such as handbooks, acknowledgments and health plan benefit forms can be given and completed at this time.

A major point of consideration when establishing your Onboarding Steps is the applicable policies for the results of required and administered background and drug screens.  Be sure you follow the proper prevailing employment laws governing those processes.

These types of questions and issues will consistently be front and center for all employers.  Let USA Staffing Services help relieve you from these types of stresses, so you can focus on growing your business.

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