The Employer’s 2024 Guide to Hiring Employees in Oklahoma

Nicole Rothstein

What’s one thing most business owners have in common? They wear many hats. If you are in need of some help with the myriad of responsibilities mounting from your growing business, it may be time to hire employees. And if you are in the state of Oklahoma, this 2024 hiring guide will be a valuable resource. Check out these seven questions to consider when you’re hiring employees in Oklahoma.

Before you hire your first employee, your business will need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). There are numerous tasks you won’t be able to accomplish—like paying taxes and applying for business permits—until you have this tax identification number from the IRS.

Next, register your business with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, and register as an employer with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

It is also required that you display several state and federal labor law posters in conspicuous places throughout the workplace, such as employee break rooms. Oklahoma’s required posters can be found on the Office of Management & Enterprise Services website.

Oklahoma employers are required to secure workers’ compensation insurance to cover costs associated with workplace-related injury or illness. The cost of the insurance is paid entirely by the employer and cannot be taken out of employees’ pay.

2. What rights do employees have in Oklahoma?

Your employees have rights as workers in the state of Oklahoma, and it’s important that you understand and adhere to the laws in order to avoid penalties and fines.

With few exceptions, the Oklahoma Department of Labor requires that workers be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the federal minimum wage. All nonexempt workers must be paid twice per month and employees who are exempt must be paid once per month. Nonexempt employees also have the right to be paid overtime wages, which is triggered when they work more than 40 hours per week. The rate for overtime wages is 1.5 times the normal rate. 

The Oklahoma Child Labor Law stipulates specific labor laws for minors who are 14 to 17 years of age, though there are exceptions for farm jobs. There are restrictions on the number of hours minors can work, as well as types of jobs that cannot be performed if deemed hazardous to their health and safety.

Employment discrimination based on religion, sex, race, color, national origin, disability, or genetic information is strictly prohibited in Oklahoma. This law applies to hiring, promotion, and termination.

3. What information should I include in a job description?

Start by asking yourself questions like the following:

  • What tasks will be involved in the job?
  • What skills and experience are required?
  • Will the position be full-time or part-time?
  • Should I consider remote workers or independent contractors?
  • What compensation and benefits will I offer for this position?

All of these details should be included in the job description, which you can then share with applicable audiences via job sites, social media, and word of mouth.

If you need any help, check out Gusto’s employee benefits and health insurance solutions.

4. Is there room to improve my company culture?

There is always room for improvement when it comes to company culture.

If you are the lone worker at your business, there may not be much of a culture yet. Before hiring employees, think about what you want your culture to be like, and check out Gusto’s Ultimate Guide to Building a Positive Company Culture.

If you already have employees, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of company culture does my business have? 
  • What do my current employees and other constituents think of the company culture (hint, you need to ask them)?
  • Is this culture working well for my business or is there low productivity, poor morale, and high turnover?

A positive company culture can be an influential part of your recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies. Learn more about how to improve your company culture on Gusto’s blog.

5. How effective are my hiring processes?

Hiring has many moving parts, and it’s crucial that they are all effective. Here are some questions to ask yourself (and others) when evaluating your hiring processes:

  • Am I accurately communicating my company culture in my job postings, on my website, and in my social media presence?
  • Am I screening candidates’ resumes and asking relevant interview questions to evaluate how and what they might contribute to the company culture my business strives to achieve?
  • What should I include in my offer letter?
  • How effective is my onboarding program? Do new employees feel welcome?

Luckily for you, hiring processes are in Gusto’s wheelhouse! Check out these six hiring email templates. Also, take advantage of our recruiting, hiring, and onboarding software to give your business a cutting edge when it comes to acquiring top talent.

6. What paperwork do I need to complete for new hires?

Federal law requires that you verify each worker’s identity and authorization to work in the United States by filling out form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification. This applies to both citizens and noncitizens. 

New and rehired employees must be reported to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) within 20 days of their first day on the job. OESC uses this information to locate noncustodial parents and collect child support.

Finally, your business may require paperwork as part of the onboarding process. If you want employees to sign an employment contract or the employee handbook, it’s a good idea to do that in the early days of employment.

7. How do I prepare for payroll?

Every new hire will need to complete a W-4 Form, Employee’s Withholding Certificate. The information collected on this form will indicate their exemptions and how much you need to withhold in income taxes from their wages.

Additional paperwork for payroll in Oklahoma includes the OK-W-4, Employee’s State Withholding Allowance Certificate.

Payroll can be a complex process, but it’s our area of expertise here at Gusto. Our hourly and salary paycheck calculators are a resource for those who want to do it on their own. The information we’ve compiled includes federal and Oklahoma-specific laws about critical topics like unemployment insurance, Medicare, what to include on pay stubs, rules on final wages, and more.

A final word on hiring employees in Oklahoma

Whether you’re running a sidewalk cafe in Tulsa or a consulting business in Oklahoma City, there is a lot to know about hiring employees in Oklahoma. With options like our full-service payroll platform and time-tracking software, Gusto is here to make your job as an employer a lot easier.

Nicole Rothstein Nicole Rothstein covers a variety of topics related to finance, small business advocacy, and workforce and regional development. In addition to writing for and managing several blogs and publications, she has worked closely with federations, chambers of commerce, nonprofits, small businesses and financial institutions to create impactful content marketing strategies.
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