The Employer’s 2024 Guide to Hiring Employees in Rhode Island

Nicole Rothstein

If you run a business in Rhode Island and you’re looking to bring on new employees, this 2024 guide includes six crucial tips for hiring that are specific to your state.

1. Federal and state requirements to tackle first

    Every employer needs a Federal Employer Identification Number (also referred to as FEIN or EIN). If you don’t have one yet, apply online through the Internal Revenue Service.

    Your next task will be Rhode Island Business Registration. Through the Division of Taxation, you will register your business as a new Rhode Island employer. You must do this before you can receive a permit for retail sales, pay taxes, and secure unemployment insurance.

    Rhode Island has specific requirements for displaying labor law posters. Employers must ensure that the required posters are visible to employees. Workers who telecommute or work remotely can be sent the link to the posters electronically.

    Finally, with few exceptions, all employers in Rhode Island must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover costs associated with cases of workplace injury or illness. Learn more about workers’ compensation details specific to your state by visiting the State of Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training website.

    2. Understand Rhode Island’s labor laws

      There are more labor laws than we can reasonably cover here, but we’ve listed five key topics below to get you started.

      1. In Rhode Island, the minimum wage is $14.00 per hour. Additionally, most non-exempt employees working on Sundays, on one of the state’s legal holidays, or working more than 40 hours per week (considered overtime) must be paid one-and-a-half times their normal wage for the Sunday, holiday, or time over 40 hours.
      2. If you employ minors, carefully review the child labor laws. Certain jobs are prohibited and the work schedule is regulated for those who fall into the 14–15 and 16–17-year-old age ranges.
      3. Rhode Island’s Pay Equity Act prohibits employers from paying workers a different wage based on characteristics such as race, national origin, sexual orientation, and age.
      4. The state’s Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act provides workers with the opportunity to take a certain amount of time off for illness, injury, or routine medical appointments—or to care for a family member. For employers with 18 or more workers, this time off must be paid.

      3. Write a compelling job description

        As you begin putting together a job description, you’ll need to assess what tasks and responsibilities you’re looking to have filled, and whether this position will be part-time or full-time—or even if it could be filled by an independent contractor. Be sure to include in the job description as well as the compensation and benefits your company will provide.

        Also, keep in mind that a positive company culture can help with recruitment, hiring, and retention so be sure to include a description of your company’s offerings as they relate to work-life balance or other healthy company culture traits. This may take the form of wellness programs, flexible scheduling, or volunteer opportunities—to name just a few examples. The goal is to provide candidates with a clear picture of the satisfying workplace you provide. If you’re lacking in the company culture department, check out our 11 tips for improving it.

        4. Streamline your hiring process

          If you’ve created a compelling description for your job opening and have shared it via job boards, social media, and word of mouth, you’ll (hopefully!) experience a lot of interest. When you screen candidates, take into consideration what they might contribute to your company culture beyond the skills, experience, and work they will provide. Ask open-ended questions, provide assessments, and allow candidates to meet with current employees.

          Next, you’ll need to create a job offer letter, as well as a great onboarding process for new employees. Gusto has a comprehensive human resources platform that can help you streamline your hiring process and build and manage a great team.

          5. Do the required onboarding paperwork

            Onboarding employees comes with paperwork requirements for you (the employer) as well as your new hires.

            To begin with, federal law requires you to verify your new hire’s identity and authorization to work in the United States. This applies to both citizens and non-citizens. Be sure to fill out Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

            New hire reporting is the next step, which is done through the State of Rhode Island’s New Hire Reporting Directory. Employers must report new hires and newly re-hired workers within 20 days of their start date. This information, which includes phone number, address, and additional contact details, is used to locate parents who owe child support arrears.

            6. Understand how payroll works in Rhode Island

              Getting set up with payroll and payroll taxes can be an overwhelming part of the hiring process. Check out Gusto’s state-specific hourly and salary paycheck and payroll calculators. These resources will help you understand Rhode Island’s job development tax, withholding tax, paycheck requirements, and other relevant employer laws.

              Gusto is here to help

              Whether your business is in Providence, Newport, or Kingstown —or one of the many other charming towns and cities throughout the great state of Rhode Island—we have you covered when it comes to hiring and managing employees. Check out Gusto’s extensive products and services that can help you grow your team and your business.

              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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