What do I need to do before hiring my first employee?

It's a good idea to have these items in place:

  1. An employee handbook - This is a set of workplace rules and policies you want your employees to follow. It also explains the company policies regarding paid time off, jury duty pay, disciplinary actions, benefits and such as well as policies to insure compliance with laws regarding sexual harassment, drug-free workplace, antidiscrimination, Americans with disabilities and so forth.
  2. Job descriptions - This outlines the major duties and job-specific expectations. It's a good idea to mention that there is flexibility here...cross-training of staff and other (minor) task assignments may be given.
  3. I-9 forms. You can get these from the Citizenship and Immigration Service at www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-9.pdf

Also, it's helpful to download the wage and hour rules from your state's Department of Labor. You can also download the required federal and state workplace posters. Most states also have a helpful compliance guide, as well as wage surveys. Useful Oregon sites are www.oregon.gov/BOLI and http://www.qualityinfo.org/ For Washington, visit http://www.lni.wa.gov/ and www.dol.wa.gov/business/hire.html For federal labor laws and helpful hiring information, visit http://www.dol.gov/ and their online 'law advisor' at www.dol.gov/elaws/firststep/

Q&A - Employer & Human Relations