HR Guide to Hiring & Onboarding in Pennsylvania
Get a start-to-finish look at hiring and onboarding for PA organizations.
Hiring and onboarding are among the many important tasks for Pennsylvania HR professionals. While the process itself may seem straightforward, seasoned HRs know too well that every step matters. Overlooking even just one form or just one deadline can pose serious legal and financial consequences. That’s why learning how to hire an employee in Pennsylvania should be among your top HR tasks to master.
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With the rise of remote work and the growing practice of hiring employees across state lines, it’s important for all organizations that might hire employees in Pennsylvania to understand reporting requirements and Pennsylvania onboarding compliance.
Use this all-inclusive guide to learn more about Pennsylvania new hire paperwork, onboarding compliance, payroll and tax reporting, and tips to make your new employee’s first day stand out. Read our HR's Guide to Compliance to learn more.
Pennsylvania New Hire Paperwork
Most employees are used to being greeted with a stack of forms and paperwork on their first day. This is simply part of Pennsylvania’s onboarding compliance and company-specific orientation. Here’s what’s required in your Pennsylvania new hire paperwork packet:
I-9 form for employee eligibility requirements
W-4 form for federal tax reporting
Disability Self-Identification (required for companies doing business with the government)
In addition to these required forms, employers may choose to present additional forms, policies, and acknowledgments during onboarding. Examples include but are not limited to:
Employee handbook receipt
Corporate travel policies
Wage deduction forms for uniforms, etc.
Authorization for drug testing, background checks, credit checks, etc.
Video surveillance forms
Direct deposit information
Copy of job description, offer letter, and/or pay agreement
Employee information form, including emergency contacts, etc.
Company-specific policies on attendance, dress code, PTO, etc.
It sounds like a lot, but this is also why many employers choose to give all of these forms to the employee on their first day. It lets them finish all the forms at once so they can get it out of the way early. Another option is to use HR software tools to compile these forms for digital signatures and easy tracking.
HR Priorities: Before Day 1
Once you extend the offer and your new hire accepts it, it’s time to start preparing for their arrival. This is a busy time for HRs—there’s usually a lot of printing and paperwork involved, as well as connecting with team members so they can start planning to welcome them aboard. The employee’s first day can make a huge impact on the rest of their employment with you, which is why we suggest never leaving it to chance.
Here are some things you can do to ensure a strong start and get your employee excited for Day 1:
Assemble a Welcome Packet
In addition to all of the Pennsylvania onboarding compliance forms, you may have other info to share with your new hire. This might include details about benefits and perks, a list of important contacts, or even a company newsletter. It’s a good idea to prepare these things in advance so you don’t waste time chasing down copies and printing new forms. It also subtly tells your new hire that you've invested time in preparing for their first day, which can make them feel all the more welcome.
Prepare Keys, Cards, and Codes
If you work in a facility where employees need physical keys, codes, or key cards, go ahead and have those ready. Just like the welcome packet, it sends a message to your new hire that you've been expecting them and are excited they’re here.
Meet with the New Hire’s Team
Unless your new hire is joining you in HR, you’ll be connecting them with their new team at some point on the first day. Let the team know someone will be joining them. Share their name and a little about their background. Give them the new hire’s start date so they can start getting a workspace ready and plan out their training. For teams or departments that are short-handed, learning that some help is on the way is a great way to lift their spirits and put some spring in their step.
Choose a Mentor
A mentor plays an important role in the hiring and onboarding process. They become the go-to person for questions, concerns, and growth as the new hire gets settled into their new role. Having someone to guide the way can be invaluable to the experience. Try to choose someone who has been with your company for a while and is fully involved in the culture and spirit of the organization.
Send Out a Company-Wide Announcement
Bringing on a new employee is exciting for many reasons. It signals the company is doing well and has something special to offer. This is something everyone on your payroll can celebrate, so consider sending out an email blast or another announcement about new hires joining the team. Encourage employees to come to introduce themselves and make them feel welcome, even if they won’t be working side by side with them.
Encourage Introductions From the Team
Going radio-silent between the offer and the first day does nothing to build the new hire’s confidence. HRs need to be proactive in reaching out to new employees and keeping them engaged before they officially start. One way to do this is by letting some of the employee’s future team members reach out to introduce themselves, either via phone call, video chat, or email. It doesn’t have to be anything super formal. Just share your name and what you do and let them know you’re excited to work with them. Easy-peasy!
HR To-Dos: On Day 1
Your new hire’s start date is finally here! This is great news for HRs for many reasons, particularly because you’ve filled a position and can move on to other priorities. At this point, your job is two-fold: to ensure proper Pennsylvania employee onboarding compliance and to make them excited to come back on Day 2.
We’ll go through more compliance stuff in a moment. But for now, let’s look at some ways you can make their first day stand out for all the right reasons:
Treat Them to a VIP Lunch
When you’re out of the office, the walls come down, and people feel like they can speak more freely. A nice lunch off company premises helps you and your colleagues get to know your new hire on a personal level. Plan a VIP lunch with the CEO, company leaders, or other essential people to make the occasion even more special. Your goal shouldn’t be to talk business but rather find out more about the new person you’re working with.
Gamify the Office Tour
Taking a tour of the office or facilities is a first-day formality, but it can be so much more than that, too. Find ways to make the tour fun, such as sharing stories or talking about each department or job’s role in the greater company ecosystem. Or, if you’re onboarding lots of new hires at once, you might even gamify the tour and award points or prizes for those who are paying attention.
Conduct an End-of-Day Check-Out
Before your new employee leaves for the day, do a quick check-in to see how their first day went. This is a great chance to answer any questions that may have come up or address any concerns. This also gives you a chance to use their feedback to improve the first-day experience for your next new hires.
How to Comply with PA State Employment Standards
Pennsylvania employment compliance also extends beyond the first day and into the workplace at large. One of HR’s priorities is to post the required workplace posters in visible areas in your facility, such as the employee break room. Some of these posters are federally required, while others may be specific to the state of Pennsylvania:
Workers’ Rights: Your Rights Under USERRA poster
Families First Coronavirus Response Act Paid Leave Notice
Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
FLSA Federal Minimum Wage poster
OSHA Job Safety & Health Protection poster
Equal Employment Opportunity poster
Workers’ Compensation Law poster (state required)
Unemployment Compensation Form UC-700 (state required)
Minimum Wage Law poster Form LLC-1 (state required)
Fair Employment poster (state required)
Abstract of Equal Pay Law Form LLC-8 (state required)
COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses (state required)
Note that some of these posters may be combined into a single federal or state labor law poster. Additional posters may be required depending on your industry, your participation in various programs, and other details.
In addition, keep in mind that poster requirements change from year to year. For instance, in 2019, posters related to the coronavirus didn’t exist. They evolved out of need! It’s best practice to routinely check for updates on labor law poster requirements to maintain ongoing compliance.
For a full list of requirements, head to laborposters.org.
Pennsylvania Payroll & Tax Requirements
All new hires must be reported within 20 days of their start date. Pennsylvania employers have several ways they can report their new employees:
Use the online portal to input employees via a web form or file upload.
Mail a copy of the Commonwealth New Hire Reporting Form:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
New Hire Reporting Program
P.O. Box 69400
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9400
Fax a copy of the Commonwealth New Hire Reporting Form to 866-748-4473.
Employers must also deposit and report federal payroll taxes according to the schedule outlined by the IRS. Learn more about specific dates via the IRS section on Depositing and Reporting Employment Taxes.
How GoCo Supports Hiring & Onboarding for PA Employers
Pennsylvania shares many of the same hiring and onboarding compliance requirements as other states, but there are many differences to be aware of, too. That’s why GoCo designed all-inclusive HR software to tackle state-specific challenges to keep you compliant and confident.
GoCo has done all the heavy lifting when it comes to Pennsylvania employee onboarding, including required new hire forms, new hire reporting, federal and state tax withholdings, employment eligibility, and more. We’ve also taken some of the sting out of onboarding paperwork with Magic Docs—a product that lets you customize, send, track, and collect any form or document you need for compliant onboarding and report on the fields you collect.
For an easier, smoother, seamless hiring and onboarding experience, GoCo is your valued partner in all things HR. Take a tour today and see how GoCo gives you back your time to create more impactful onboarding and Day 1 experiences!
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