What’s the order for paperwork when on-boarding a new employee?

Hiring a new employee can rain a mountain of paperwork on any seasoned HR professional. Oftentimes, one is left asking, what order are all of these supposed to be complete?

Stage 1: Initial Documents

Initially, you have the job application, which is an important step. Make certain your application complies with any local “Ban the Box” rules and salary history questions. Since the county is trending towards banning salary history questions, it best to leave this off in the application documents.

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

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

Stage 2: Job Offer documents

So you have decided to offer the job to the candidate? The First step is to call and offer the job to the candidate. 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. Ensure that offer letter does not undermine the at-will status

After a job offer is made you can give the potential employee documentation that includes a drug test authorization, a background check authorization, direct deposit forms, a W4, and the other state equivalent tax forms. 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. Also, if applicable, given them the Work Opportunity Tax Credit  WOTC forms. Inform the candidate of any other terms that the offer is contingent upon, such as the completion of the I-9

Stage 3: First day of work

If everything is clear and the person begins work, their first paid day at work should be considered their “hire date”. Section 1 of the I-9 must be completed on day 1, the rest needs to be done by day 3. 

At this time you can give the employee all their other new employee onboarding materials such as your employee handbook, heath plan and benefit information, and any other important policies and procedures for their role. Have the employee sign an acknowledgment of receipt for the handbook and any other policies they are given. 

Finally, ensure the employee receives all ERISA plan documents including their summary plan description. These can be accepted electronically by the employee if they meet the work related computer access employee. The employee would need to sign an authorization in order to receive electronic delivery if they aren’t under the exception. Otherwise, paper copies can be given.