Hiring and Growth

How to Be Compliant on Your Employee’s First Day

David Cheng Former Head of Content, Gusto 

Your employee’s first day is incredibly exciting. At Gusto, in addition to helping new teammates get situated with internal systems, we give them cool swag, a “welcome!” balloon, and an “inside joke” watermelon (yes, a real watermelon).

You can do something fun for your employee’s first day too. Here are some suggestions to help spark some ideas.

In addition to the fun aspects of your employee’s orientation, there are a few key legal and regulatory items you’ll need to comply with. Here’s a compliance checklist for when you hire a new employee.

1. Fill out all your essential new hire paperwork

To start off right, take care of all your new hire paperwork right away. As soon as your employees start, it’s important to knock these items off your to-do list so you don’t have to waste time hunting down deadlines.

A good rule of thumb is to give your new employees a checklist of what they’ll have to fill out before their first day, so they can arrive with all the documentation they need. Get our full rundown of the new hire forms you’ll have to tackle here.

2. Give your employees a copy of their offer letter and employment contract (if they had one)

Make sure both you and your employee have easy access to all of their essential documents.

3. Double-check that your employee filled out a job application

In most cases, you can check this off in a heartbeat. But if your employee was hired without filling out a paper or digital application, you don’t have a list of their qualifications, employment history, educational background, and other crucial info.

Additionally, you can use the signature on the job application to get permission for checking references, conducting a background check, and sometimes even reviewing drug tests.

However, this varies by state, so be sure to check your state’s labor website. If someone on the team dropped the ball on this front, just have them fill it out before you do any of the reviews above.

4. Choose a payroll schedule

Every business has to decide which payroll schedule is best for them and their employees. The most common frequencies in the US are monthly, semi-monthly (twice a month), biweekly (every two weeks), and weekly. State laws typically require a minimum pay period—you can always pay more frequently but not less.

Each pay schedule has advantages and disadvantages. Use this guide to learn which payroll schedule is right for you.

Fall in love with modern payroll

5. Get workers’ compensation insurance

Finally, don’t forget to add your employee to your workers’ comp insurance plan as required by law. It protects your company from liability in a case of an injury caused on the job.

You’ll also want to get familiar with your local laws around offering workers’ comp. For example, in California all employees are required to be covered on their first day of employment.


Now that your employee is on payroll and you have all the employment forms filled out, you can sit back, and let the payroll system take care of the ongoing payments, filings, and reporting. That is of course, if you made the decision to work with a modern online payroll service.

Updated: November 1, 2019

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