By Kate Devine-Elkins
If you hire in multiple states, you are well aware of the complexity of the paperwork that must be completed before an applicant becomes an official member of your team. Along with the standard onboarding forms, there are numerous state laws that govern an equally large number of required forms, including some that need to be presented annually. It is difficult for HR teams to try and monitor state regulations with forms that are frequently changing, potentially required in different languages, and that need to be delivered at different times along the employee lifecycle. There is growing employer risk as those unique forms must be interpreted, distributed, acknowledged by new hires and/or current employees, and retained by employers. Because a lack of adherence can result in fines, how can you be more sure you get the right form to the right employee at the right time?
The majority of states have required forms that employers may need to present to employees who qualify, sometimes at the time of hire, and sometimes on an annual basis. Several are even required to be available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Yiddish and Polish. The employee must formally acknowledge their receipt and understanding of the notification. Most involve informing employees of their rights regarding a specific policy such as:
Paid sick leave
Research has shown that organizations with a strong onboarding experience can improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. One of many things that can derail that great experience is having a clunky process to complete onboarding paperwork. When employees have lots of starts and stops and have to switch to different systems to complete forms, you take the chance of them giving up and going to another employer who makes it easier. In a time where there is a war for talent, that can be unacceptable.
Having a smooth digital consumer-like experience for onboarding paperwork can be key. Bundling these state forms more seamlessly with other required forms like Form I-9 provides a better employee experience and greater confidence that everything has been properly completed. Continue that experience throughout the employee lifecycle by using the same process for state required annual notices or any additional notices you provide your employee base throughout the year. And with an integrated system, some fields may be automatically filled with the necessary employee/employer specific data to make things even easier and more efficient for your team members.
If you can’t prove it, you didn’t do it. These notifications need to be acknowledged by the employee using an e-signature or a wet signature, and must then be archived. If you are audited, it’s important to be able to show supporting documentation for each employee’s acknowledgement where a notice was required to be presented. Conducting an internal audit twice a year is a best practice to help verify that your procedures are working properly and the right forms are being presented at the right time and acknowledged by your employees. Because potential fines are involved, being prepared for an audit and showing good faith to comply is essential.
It seems like remote work is here to stay and may even continue to grow. More than 1 in 10 Americans moved during the pandemic according to a 2021 Zillow survey, with remote work as a primary reason respondents decided to move. Obviously, not all jobs can be performed remotely, but the implications to state forms is significant when an employee lives in a different state than their employer for whatever reason, leaving some employers trying to manage way more forms that they previously were.
For example, let’s say you have physical locations in Nevada, but now have many applicants who live in California and will work from home. You may be pretty familiar with Nevada’s state form requirements, but California may be new to you, and California has a large number of required forms.
HR’s mountain of administrative work just keeps growing. If you need help keeping on top of this myriad of state forms, Equifax can help. Our State Forms service can help you with state required new hire and annual notifications since we track legislation in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. Bundle these notices with all your new hire and current employee forms in our customizable platform for a better employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle. To learn more about HR audits in general, check out Best Practices for HR Audits: What Triggers Them and How Can I Prepare? or contact us for more information.