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HR Labor Laws

Brad Wilkins, Donna Russell, and Keith Callahan discuss HR labor laws and the responsibilities of employers:

Q: “When opening a new training studio and hiring full time, salary employees what forms need to be provided to the employee and what files do we need to keep on file as the employer from an HR/labor law standpoint? Any where to look up this kind of information?”

A: You asked a great question that a lot of small business owners are unaware of; yet they need to be to protect the business. I hope this helps!

The list of documents an employer must keep to comply with federal regulations is extensive. Therefore, Federal records retention laws are in place requiring all employers to keep records (often for many years) of all their employees and business transactions. For an example, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) requires that employers retain all documents pertaining to taxes; such as payroll and other income tax-related documents (at least fifteen years), W-4 forms (at least four years), and records pertaining to unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare taxes (all at least four years).

“ is best to check with legal counsel in the state in which you live to verify that you are in compliance with Federal and State mandates”

Outside of the tax records conundrum, you will also need to maintain all records of employment (e.g. hiring and firing decisions, promotions and demotions)… which was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to enforce non-discrimination requirements in the workplace.

Below is a list of forms you may want to consider as a starting point for your business; but as always, it is best to check with legal counsel in the state in which you live to verify that you are in compliance with Federal and State mandates.

Pre-employment forms:

  1. Application
  2. Background check forms
  3. Resume
  4. Offer letter

Employment Forms:

  1. I-9 Form
  2. W-4 Forms
  3. Licenses, certificates (copy)
  4. Benefit Deduction forms ( 401k, Medical, Dental, etc)
  5. Personal information form (name, address, phone, etc)
  6. Confidentiality form
  7. Emergency Contact form
  8. Policy and procedure receipt form
  9. Harassment awareness form (which should include training)

Other Forms:

  1. Disciplinary actions
  2. Employment actions

Also, the below links can help you get started in finding the information you may need:

Brad Wilkins, Assistant General Manager & Commercial Club Consultant
Cooper Fitness Center

A: For information on payroll and federal tax issues, employers should contact:

Department of the Treasury
Office of Public Correspondence
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
202-6222-6415 (fax)

For information on payroll and state tax issues, employers should contact your state's Department of Revenue.

I suggest you purchase the BLR Employee Compensation Manual. The BLR Website is (Negotiate the price). BLR has lots of invaluable written materials.

Keep your employment records for three years after employee is terminated.
New hires should complete a W-4 Federal Tax Form (2010 W-4 Form attached), M-4 MA State Tax Form, I-9 Form (attached) with 2 acceptable forms of I.D. listed on the I-9 Form. The I-9 Form with two (2) I.D.’s should be kept in a separate file should you get audited.

Meal Breaks: no employee may be required to work for more than 6 consecutive hours without an interval of at least 30 minutes for a meal. The break does not have to be paid.

Over-Time: Non-exempt employees, i.e. front desk staff must be paid over-time (time and a half) when they work more than 40 hours in a week.

Donna Russell, Director of Human Resources

"You can check with your payroll processing company for specifics and they can often supply you with copies of what you will need. “

A: For the employee, you'll need to supply a copy of your Employee Handbook, a Letter of Agreement outlining their compensation and a Job Description. For your employee file, you'll need to keep a copy of the Letter of Agreement with their and your signature and their job description along with the completed Federal I-9 verifying eligibility to work within the US and their original W-4 for withholding of taxes.

You can check with your payroll processing company for specifics and they can often supply you with copies of what you will need. The I-9 and the W-4 can be downloaded from US Govt. websites. Beyond any forms needed for the employee file.

I would caution you to not necessarily default to “Salary Employees” and “Full Time” employees. Carefully evaluate the cost of these types of positions and compensation as payroll will probably be your number one cost and difficult to control and change once your have hired.

Keith Callahan, G.M. / Managing Partner
Manchester Athletic Club

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