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The New York State Employee Onboarding Kit

Here's everything you need to know and do to properly hire and onboard new employees in New York State.


Check out the Overview!



    Watch the video to learn more about our New York State Employee Onboarding Kit, which is now being used by over 1,000 employers in New York State to help make their hiring and onboarding process more efficient and effective.


    What does the New York State Employee Onboarding Kit include?

    • A one-page checklist, created by Complete Payroll, to help you make sure you don't miss any of the steps.
    • Links to download all the forms (federal and state) and form templates you need to properly hire and onboard an employee in New York State.
    • Instructional videos and descriptions that explain what the forms are, why they're important, how to use them and answers to other frequently asked questions employers have about them.
    • Overviews of NYS labor laws that affect the hiring and onboarding of new employees in the state.
    • Links to federal and New York State government agencies for additional information and resources.

    What forms are included?

    • The Checklist to give you a quick snapshot on one page.
    • I-9 Form for verifying an employee's eligibility to work in the United States.
    • W-4 Form to set up federal income tax withholding.
    • IT-2104 Form to set up New York State income tax withholding.
    • Direct Deposit Form to set up direct deposit payments.
    • Personal Information Form to keep critical information about your employee on record.
    • Wage Statement Form to comply with the New York State Wage Protection Act (2011).
    • Job Description Template to help with best hiring and employment practices.
    • Confidentiality Agreement Template to help you protect your business.
    • HR Services information for small businesses that can't employ full-time Human Resources staff members.

    The Checklist

    Start here. Download this simple one-page checklist of all of the documents you will need to onboard an employee in New York State.

    As promised, your New York State Employee Onboarding Kit is complete with our very own checklist. It’s a simple one-pager to help you make sure you’ve covered all your bases when bringing on your new employee. Click the link below and it’s yours. And before I go, I just want to thank you again for letting us help you bring in your new employee - especially if it’s your first one! Bringing in new people is one of the most exciting parts of being in business and we wish you the best of luck.

    Download The NYS Employee Onboarding Checklist

    Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)

    Verifying first and foremost that your new employee(s) are able to legally accept employment in the United States.

    Form: I-9

    The I-9 Form is the first and probably most critical form you need to complete to hire a new employee. It’s full name is the Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 Form. It’s issued by the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security. The I-9 Form is your way as an employer to verify your employee’s identity and establish that they’re eligible to accept employment in the United States. By completing the I-9 Form, your prospective employee suggests that he or she meets one of the following criteria…

    • They are a United States citizen
    • They are a non-United States citizen national
    • They are a lawful permanent resident
    • Or, they’re an alien authorized to work in the United States

    When you complete the I-9 Form, you as an employer are required to verify that all newly-hired employees present “facially valid documentation” (or some kind of photo ID if you want to use plain English). For most people, this is a driver’s license or a passport.

    Your employee must complete their section of the I-9 form on their first day. Then, they have 3 days to provide the required documentation. Keep in mind, for whatever documentation your new employee provides, you as the employer need to see the original format. Copies don’t count here. You have to inspect the documentation and deem it legitimate to the best of your knowledge. Then, you as the employer need to complete section 2, and store it away. And that’s it. You don’t need to send it anywhere or take any additional steps. You’ll just need to be able to access it in the event of a labor dispute or in case you get audited. So make sure it’s stored in a safe space. Finally, we recommend filing the I-9 Form separate from your employee’s personal file - which is where you’d keep things like their application, offer letter and tax forms.

    Can you accept an expired ID?

    No. Unless the employee has presented enough other documentation for completion of Section 2, you’ll need to let him know that he has not established work authorization. Show him the I-9 List of Acceptable Documents and ask him to provide alternate documentation or a valid receipt for a replacement document. Don't specify which documents on the list he needs to provide, as this must be the employee’s decision. The I-9 must be completed within 3 business days of the employee’s date of hire. If he fails to bring acceptable documentation within that timeframe, you should either terminate his employment or put him on an unpaid leave of absence for a defined and communicated length of time (e.g., 7 days) pending his presentation of proper documents.

    Do all workers need to complete the I-9?

    No. Non-employees including volunteers, unpaid interns, and independent contractors should not complete an I-9, as none of these workers (if properly classified) are employees.

    More about the I-9 Form from the IRS.



    Income Tax Withholding

    Setting up withholding for state and federal income taxes.

    Form: W-4 - Federal Income Tax Withholding

    If you’ve ever accepted employment before, you’re probably familiar with the W-4 Form. The W-4 is also referred to as the Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. It’s essentially the employee’s way of telling their employer (you) the correct amount of federal income tax to withhold from their pay. It’s required that you have your new employee complete the W-4 Form when they’re hired, but the IRS actually recommends that all your employees complete it every year, or at least any time their personal or financial situation changes. For example, federal income tax withholding for a single filer is different from a married filer. Same thing for a filer with no dependents compared to a filer with one or more dependents.

    The tax that’s withheld from your employee’s paycheck goes directly to the IRS. By taking this money out of every paycheck, the IRS is essentially withholding their anticipated tax payment as they earn wages throughout the year. On the other hand, independent contractors, or 1099 employees, don’t necessarily pay income tax through their payroll checks, but they are required to pay taxes on their own, generally through quarterly installments with the final reconciliation at the end of the year, due on April 15th for the previous year, just like everyone else.

    Employees can control how much is withheld from every paycheck by altering their filing status and adding additional withholding amounts. They may ask you, their employer, for advice on how they should file. While you should be well-equipped to help them with their options, technically this is not your advice to give. Your employee needs to make this decision on their own.

    What we can say, and what many employees want to know, is that generally, the more income tax they withhold from each paycheck, the greater their annual tax refund might be - because essentially they overpaid the IRS. Now, some people don’t like this idea, because essentially what they’ve done is given the IRS an interest free loan for the year. On the other hand, more allowances usually mean the less taxes that will come out of your paycheck. If your employee doesn’t withhold enough from their paychecks, they could have to pay an additional sum to the IRS instead of getting a refund. And sometimes they can be subject to penalties and interest charges for under-withholding.

    For most taxpayers, it’s recommended to try to match their withholding tax to their actual tax liability as closely as possible.

    And if an employee doesn’t fill our their tax forms, taxes should be withheld from their paycheck at the highest tax bracket, single and 0 dependents.

    More about the W-4 Form from the IRS.



    Form: IT-2104 - New York State Income Tax Withholding

    Every employee must pay federal and state taxes, unless you’re in a state that doesn’t have state income tax - but New York is definitely not one of those states. The W-4 takes care of withholding for federal income tax, and the IT-2104 takes care of New York State income tax withholding. All in all, the IT-2104 Form is pretty straightforward. Just give it to your new employee to complete, just like you would the W-4 Form. Once they’re done, there’s a section on the first page for the employer to complete.

    If the employee claimed more than 14 allowances, you’ll have to put a check mark in Box A before sending it into the New York State Tax Department. The address is on the form, but we’ve also provided it below. In most cases, you’ll just be putting a check mark in Box B, and again sending it into the New York State Tax Department.


    Wage Payments

    Setting up direct deposit and complying with the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act.

    Direct Deposit Authorization Form

    The first thing I have to mention before we get into the direct deposit form is, even though most employees these days prefer to be paid by direct deposit, you as an employer are not allowed to require them to be paid by direct deposit. You have to give them the option of being paid by live, physical checks. So if in fact your employee chooses NOT to be paid by direct deposit, click the link below to learn more about our payroll processing services.

    That being said, I know I prefer direct deposit, and so will most employees. When that’s the case, you’ll need to have them complete a direct deposit form. Unlike the other state and federal forms we just went over, there is no officially-sanctioned direct deposit form. You’re more than welcome to create your own, but we’re trying to make life easier so we created a sample one for you. Truth be told, it’s actually exactly the same direct deposit form we use for our employees AND our clients, but we just removed our company information and left blanks so you can easily plug in yours.

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    There are 2 main components of a direct deposit form. The first is the Employee Direct Deposit Authorization Agreement. This is essentially the employee’s way of officially giving you - their employer - permission to pay them by direct deposit. It’s authorized by their signature at the bottom. The other section is where they specify their direct deposit information with their routing number (or numbers) bank account number (or numbers), account type (or types) and their deposit options. Some people simply want their entire paycheck deposited into one account. But some people want to split up their deposits into multiple accounts. In that case, your employee needs to fill out one direct deposit form for each direct deposit request.

    If you’re working with a payroll processing company, like us, you’d just send us the form and we’d take care of the rest!

    Download the Direct Deposit Authorization Form

    NYS Wage Statement Form

    The Wage Theft Prevention Act is a New York State law passed in 2010 which took effect in April of 2011. It was designed to give workers more protection in New York State. It requires you as the employer to give written notice of wage rates and related information to each new hire. The notice must include…

    • The rate or rates of pay, including overtime pay rate (if applicable)
    • How the employee is paid - whether by the hour, shift, day, week or commission
    • What the regular paydays are
    • The official name of the employer - that’s you - and any other names used for business
    • The address and phone number of the employer’s main office or principal location
    • And allowances taken as part of the minimum wage, which may include tips, meals and lodging deductions

    The notice must be given in English, AND in the employee’s primary language, if that language is something other than English. The New York State Department of Labor does provide translations for Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish and Russian.

    Also, this Form must be given at the time of hire or if you are going to reduce wages. If you’re in the hospitality industry, you have to give it every time there’s a wage change.

    We’ve included the sample Wage Statement Form that we use for our employees and clients alike to comply with the Wage Theft Prevention Act below. Although this Form applies for most businesses and most employees, it’s important to know there are some exceptions - for example - if you’re a temp agency or in the hospitality industry. But don’t worry, we’ve also included below a link to the New York State Department of Labor’s webpage where they list out all the Wage Theft Prevention Act Forms. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

    Additional New York State Wage Prevention Act Forms

    Download the NYS Wage Statement Form

    Employee Files

    A job description, personal information form and sometimes a confidentiality agreement are recommended by most HR professionals.

    Job Description Template

    We believe job descriptions are an absolutely critical aspect of a business for several reasons, and it starts with the hiring process. If you haven’t begun the hiring process, I’d suggest you stop everything and write out a detailed job description right now. The easiest way to get quality applicants for your opening is through a good job description. How else would you expect a potential employee be able to determine if they’re (1) interested in the work and (2) actually qualified to do it.

    But let’s say your employee is already hired and you’re currently facilitating the onboarding process. Even then, you’re going to want to produce a detailed job description moving forward. It’s the easiest and most effective way to establish clear expectations for everyone involved. Your employee deserves to know what’s expected of them. And you as the employer deserve to be able to have clear standards which you can evaluate them by. Right now, you’re probably so excited to bring on a new employee the last thing you want to think about is if and when you’ll have to terminate them or - God forbid - a subsequent labor dispute or lawsuit. But if you have a clear, detailed job description now, and your reasons for terminating your relationship with your employee are due to their inability to carry out the essential duties of the job, having that job description in place will help you immensely. Also, if you do a quick Google search about the value of a job description, you’ll find a bunch of credible HR professionals explaining why you need one and how important it is, so I won’t go into all the details now. Bottom line? Create a job description for your new employee. We’ve included a simple template below that should get you started.

    Download the Job Description Template

    Personal Information Form

    A personal information form is not required by law, nor is it something you have to share with any government entity, but we recommend it as a best practice.

    First of all, this is where you can keep critical information about their employee - should you ever need to reference it - like their full legal name, Social Security Number, address and contact information.

    A personal information form is also an ideal place to keep information that’s critical to their employment with your company, like their start date, employment status (full-time or part-time), salary or hourly rate and pay frequency. This is good information to keep as a reference if and when your employee becomes eligible for benefits or a pay raise. It’s also good documentation to have in the unfortunate event you become subject to some kind of audit or labor dispute.

    You can create your own personal information form if you’d like, but once again we want to make things easy for you so we’ve provided one you can use right away. It’s almost exactly the same form we use for all of our employees and clients.

    Download the Personal Information Form

    Confidentiality Agreement

     A confidentiality agreement is an agreement between you and your employee to share certain information, but restrict it from the public or certain third-parties. There are many types of confidentiality agreements, but it’s essentially your way to ensure that critical information and intellectual property stay private. Depending on your business and/or the type of employee you’re hiring, it may not be necessary to establish any kind of confidentiality agreement.

    But if your employee is going to need access to important information or intellectual property that would be harmful to your business if shared with competitors or anyone else, this is something you’ll want to look into. The most critical components of a confidentiality agreement are (1) the definition of what confidential information is and (2) the written agreement that your employee will sign not to disclose that information to certain people. Below you can download a sample confidentiality agreement, but realize that I am not an attorney and you should not be taking legal advice from me. We’re just a company that employs many people and helps thousands of other business onboard their employees, so we happen to know confidentiality agreements are practice many employers choose to follow. If you think you need to establish a confidentiality agreement, and/or you want help drafting one for your business, I highly suggest you contact your attorney.

    Download the Confidentiality Agreement Template

    NYS Paid Family Leave

    Setting up your new employee's Paid Family Leave deduction.

    What is NYS Paid Family Leave? 

    Paid Family Leave in New York is an insurance policy that provides partial income replacement and job protection while workers are on leave for covered reasons. Virtually all employers in New York State are required to offer their employees PFL coverage, effective January 1, 2018. The program is being funded by the employees themselves through a mandatory payroll deduction from each employee paycheck.


     Though the two programs share some similarities, NYS Paid Family Leave is not the same as FMLA (the Family Medical Leave Act.)

    New York's Paid Family Leave program begins by offering qualifying employees 8 weeks of leave paid at 50% of their average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of the statewide average weekly wage.

    The table below shows the implementation timeline and how it corresponds with the increases in leave and benefits:

    Effective date

    Weeks available

    Max % of employee's average weekly wage

    Cap % of state average weekly wage

    January 1, 2018 8 50% 50%
    January 1, 2019 10 55% 55%
    January 1, 2020 10 60% 60%
    January 1, 2021 12 67% 67%

    As a new employer, you should contact your payroll processing bureau immediately to schedule those deductions. Beyond that, you will need to prepare for any staffing gaps, check your insurances, and complete a few other critical housekeeping steps to make sure you are prepared.

    Download The NYS Paid Family Leave Guide

    Notify Your New Employee About NYS Paid Family Leave

    It is not enough just to schedule your new employee's Paid Family Leave deductions and call it a day. It is crucial that you notify your employees of your company's PFL policy, and there are rules governing how to properly do so and remain compliant. Subpart 380-7  of the law mandates that:  

    1. If a covered employer maintains written guidance for employees concerning employee benefits or leave rights, such as in an employee handbook, information concerning leave under PFL and employee obligations under PFL shall be included in the handbook or other written guidance.2. If a covered employer does not have written policies, manuals, or handbooks describing employee benefits and leave provisions, the employer shall provide written guidance to each of his or her employees concerning all of the employee's rights and obligations under PFL, including information on how to file a claim for paid family leave.

    The key phrase here is "written guidance". In layman's terms, if you have an employee handbook, you must explain your company's policy on on Paid Family Leave in detail in that handbook. If you don't have an employee handbook - or other written policies or manuals - you must still provide "written guidance" to all of your employees about Paid Family Leave. 

    Failure to properly notify your employee(s) of their rights and obligations under the PFL law can result in a stiff penalty: 

    If an employer does not comply with the provisions of this Article to provide coverage for family leave benefits, a penalty shall be imposed on the employer, not in excess of a sum equal to one-half of a per centum of the employer's weekly payroll for the period of such failure, and a further sum not in excess of 500 dollars.

    You've got better things to do with your money. Hit the button below to download our Paid Family Leave Compliance Bundle. It contains not just a super-handy employee notification letter template, but a Paid Family Leave policy template for your employee handbook as well!

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    NYS Sexual Harassment Prevention

    2018 saw sweeping changes to how employers prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Included in New York State's 2019 budget was a sweeping new law designed to update and expand every employers' sexual harassment prevention program.  

    There are three main changes that employers need to be aware of:
    1. Employers must establish a formal sexual harassment prevention policy and share it with all employees.
    2. The policy must also include and share a complaint form with employees that can be used to file formal sexual harassment complaints.
    3. Employers must also provide mandatory sexual harassment prevention training to all employees on an annual basis.

    Let's take a look at each change in more detail.

    Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

    According to the New York State Sexual Harassment Policy website, your company’s sexual harassment prevention policy must:

    • Prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights.
    • Provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment.
    • Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws
    • Include a complaint form.
    • Include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties.
    • Inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially.
    • Clearly state that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue.
    • Clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful.

    Sexual Harassment Complaint Form

    In addition to choosing what information you will collect from an employee who is lodging a complaint, you must also have a policy in place for completing an investigation upon receiving a complaint.

    An investigation involves speaking separately with the employee and the alleged harasser, interviewing any witnesses to the behavior, and collecting and reviewing related documents.

    You may use NYS’s model form or create your own.

    Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

    Employers are now required to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees on an annual basis. You have the option of using the standard NYS-provided training, or you can create your own. However, if you create your own, it must meet or exceed all of the standards and benchmarks of the state’s model.

    Again, according to the New York State Sexual Harassment Policy website, your company’s sexual harassment prevention training must:

    • Be interactive.
    • Include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights.
    • Include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment
    • Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
    • Include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints.
    • Include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors.

    Check Out Our Full Resource on NYS Sexual Harassment Prevention

    HR Services

    Protect your business and help avoid costly penalties with our expert HR tools and advice.

    Human Resources is more than just policies and paperwork. Whether it's an employee handbook that can serve as the first line of defense in a lawsuit, a clear understanding of labor laws, or effective hiring an onboarding practices - expert HR can be the key to protecting and growing your business.

    If you’re hiring your first employee, or even if you’re a small business with only a few employees, you probably don’t have the budget to employ a full-time HR professional, let alone an entire HR department. But that doesn’t make HR objectives any less critical. For small businesses, we provide unique - and very inexpensive - HR services that include overviews of employment laws for all 50 states, a policy library, HR forms, help with an employee handbook and even unlimited phone and email access to certified Human Resources professionals.

    Policy Library

    An enormous library of policy templates for just about anything you can think of. Perfect for help updating your company sick leave policy, for example.

    HR forms, Checklists and Documents

    Perfect for scenarios you don't plan for but are very important - like running background checks, terminating an employee or just about any other HR initiative.

    Labor Law Alerts

    New state and federal laws are passed all the time. Frequently they impact your business. We alert you as soon as they're passed. You don't have to worry about missing anything.

    Employee Handbook Builders

    You can create a new handbook or update an existing one. You also have the option of building it yourself or working with one of our certified HR professionals.

    Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

    New York is mandating all employees accomplish this by October 9, 2019. Explore a training solution to get out in front of this emerging trend in human resources.

    HR Consulting

    Are you struggling with an issue and walk to speak with a real, live expert? No problem. Access to our certified HR professionals is unlimited.

    Customized HR Action Plans

    Get a dedicated HR professional to meet with you, assess your needs and build a plan. They'll make sure you're compliant and protected and follow-up with you to keep it that way.

    Live Chat

    Get access to our HR pros to answer your questions and solve challenges when they happen, as they happen. Perfect for when you need an answer, immediately.

    HR Pro Mobile

    The world's first mobile app designed to help you navigate your HR compliance and employee management issues. Everything at your fingertips.

    If you’re interested in these comprehensive HR services for a low monthly fee, click the link below to learn more.

    Request an HR software demo

    Don't Go It Alone

    Growing your team is very exciting, but we understand that there are a lot of bases to cover to do it properly. 

    Let's Start a Conversation

    We have helped thousands of companies - mostly in New York State - hire and onboard new employees, and we would love to do the same for yours.

    Fill out the form below and let's talk about how Complete Payroll can help your growing business. 


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