Employment and Employee Forms

Employment documents, often referred to as new hire forms, establish relationships between employers and new hires. Depending on the relationship type, you will need a specific employment document such as an employment contract, independent contractor agreement, or subcontractor agreement. These forms outline the position of a hiring person, parties’ rights and responsibilities, and payment terms. All new hire forms must comply with federal and state labor laws.

The hiring process is always surrounded by a certain amount of paperwork. It can be not very clear when it comes to agreement types and federal labor requirements. That’s why we’ve prepared the templates of all essential and required employment documents. Besides, we have included the most common forms employees should complete. First, let’s look at the common types of new hire forms.

Types of Employment Forms

The most common types of new hire forms include employment contracts, independent contractor agreements, and subcontractor agreements. They are used when employers hire someone for a permanent job or a temporary project. It’s crucial to understand the difference between the contracts. You cannot apply the same terms for both a new employee and an independent contractor. For instance, a probationary period cannot apply for an independent contractor agreement. Below, you will find the agreements’ descriptions and the main differences between them.

Employment Contract

An employment agreement is a binding contract defining working relationships between employers and new employees. This agreement is used for long-term and permanent positions and outlines the parties’ rights and responsibilities, working schedule, salary, and benefits for a new hire.

Employment contracts protect both parties and add reliability to the relationships. With the agreement, each party clearly understands its roles and duties. Employment agreements can cover full-time, part-time, and fixed-term jobs. All of them should comply with the corresponding labor laws. The employers can also set a probationary period to ensure that a new employee fits the company’s goals.

Independent Contractor Agreement

An independent contractor agreement is a legal document defining working relationships between a contractor and a client. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines an independent contractor as a self-employed individual or entity who provides services according to their schedule and using their equipment.

An independent contractor agreement usually includes the length of the project or service provided by the contractor, compensation details, non-disclosure, and non-compete clauses. Unlike an employment contract, an independent contractor agreement cannot provide any benefits. With this agreement, the client does not control how the work is performed. The only thing they care for is the result of the work.

Subcontractor Agreement

A subcontractor agreement manages the working arrangements between a contractor and another party, known as a subcontractor. Most people use this contract interchangeably with an independent contractor agreement, but they are not the same. A subcontractor is hired not by a client but a contractor to assist in accomplishing the project. Let’s take an example.

A client hires an independent contractor, say a landscaping architect, to create a flower garden near their office. The parties sign the agreement indicating that the client will get a ready flower garden at the end of the term. The contractor can provide design and budget documentation, drainage, planting, and watering, but they may need to engage a third party to install the outdoor lights. And that’s where a contractor should sign a subcontractor agreement.

Employment Separation Agreement

An employment separation agreement is different from the first three documents. It outlines the aspects of an employee’s separation from the job. This agreement is usually initiated by the employer and considered a friendly way to terminate employment. As a rule, the employees release the company from any claims in exchange for monetary compensation. Although not legally required, employment separation agreements help protect the employer’s confidential information and exclude any future misunderstandings between the parties.

The agreement contains such essential information as a waiver of all existing or future employee claims and lawsuits, non-disclosure provision, and settlement amount, known as severance pay. The agreement should also provide a mutual non-disparagement clause, meaning that neither party says anything negative about the other.

Standard Employee Forms

Once employed, a new hire can use the following forms. Some of them are necessary to fill out right after being hired, as an emergency contact form. Others may be prepared later due to specific needs, like employee evaluation or reimbursement forms. Employee forms cannot be used for independent contractors or subcontractors.

Employee Evaluation Form

An evaluation form helps assess an employee’s performance following the company’s goals and objectives. This form ensures that the employees are on the same page with the employers. If there are some weaknesses, the evaluation will highlight them and help improve the employee’s performance. A lot of companies organize such evaluations regularly, for example, quarterly or yearly. But this form will also come in handy if the business needs to assess the employee’s performance right away.

Employee Write-Up Form

A write-up form is similar to the evaluation, but it evaluates the employee’s negative behavior and notifies the upper management about it. Depending on the type, a write-up form can be used as a disciplinary action document and record harmful workplace incidents and violations. It may also come in the form of a complaint and notify the company’s management about the discipline issues. Other types of write-up forms include a warning notice and termination letter. The first one warns the workers about the consequences of their violations. The second one requests them to quit their duties if they continue the unwelcome behavior.

Time-Off Request Form

Employees create time-off requests when they plan to be absent at work for a certain date or period due to specific reasons. These reasons may include vacation, sick leaves, or bereavement. After receiving the time-off request, employers must respond in the short term, approving or rejecting the request. The employees must provide the employers with such a request an appropriate period in advance (usually, 14 days). Also, both parties must comply with the federal and state labor laws, as well as the agreement terms and policies related to the time-off requirements.

Employee Information Form

An information form is designed to collect more information about a new hire, including personal data, educational background, and work history. These forms are filled out and signed right after employees get hired and should be updated regularly. Sometimes, the document includes emergency contact information, but it’s more common to use a separate form. Employee’s information form helps companies record who worked there, in what positions, and for how long. Employers should not collect information about the employee’s sex, gender, religion, or nationality. Gathering such information may be deemed discriminatory.

Reimbursement Form

A reimbursement form comes in handy when an employee wants to report about the expenses paid on behalf of the company and seeks them to be compensated. These expenses are usually caused by job-related activities, such as traveling or using office supplies. If the employee wants to get reimbursement for using the personal vehicle for business purposes, they should prepare a mileage reimbursement form. In any case, the employee must collect all the corresponding receipts and deliver them to the manager. The employee is also recommended to record the purpose and explanation of the expenses along with the receipts. This will make the reimbursement more likely to be approved.

Emergency Contact Form

Another form that a new hire should fill out is an emergency contact form. Such documents contain information about the employee’s relatives or friends that should be contacted in case of emergency. These cases include employment injuries, accidents, or health deterioration. Thus, emergency contact forms strengthen safety in the workplace. An emergency contact form is used not only for a high-risk job. It’s a common practice for many employers. First of all, you never know what can happen the next minute. And secondly, the employer should know the health information and any conditions the employees may suffer from.

Employee Incident Report

An incident report is designed to record worksite injuries, illness, property damage, and rules breaches. The report is usually used to analyze the event and facilitate the investigation process, if applicable. However, employee incident reports can be helpful to detect any potential risks that may arise at the workplace. It’s recommended to use the form even in case of a minor incident. It will record all the incident’s details and help improve the company’s safety in the future, especially in case of near misses.

New hire forms are often followed by other related forms the employees should complete and sign to comply with the employer’s rules and policies. These forms are:

  • Employee Handbook – a human resources document outlining the company’s values, policies, and overall mission. Employers are not required but highly recommended to have an employee handbook since it contributes to creating a positive work environment for new hires.
  • Non-Compete Agreement – designed to protect the business from competition on the part of their new employees. The agreement should contain reasonable terms to be valid, such as an appropriate period (no longer than two years), limited geographic area, and relevant industry.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) – protects the employer’s sensitive information from being disclosed to third parties. It’s a crucial document that helps companies protect their ideas, inventions, financial information, and customer data.
  • Job Application Form – used by an employer to gather potential employees’ data and standardize the employment application process. The application form helps the business to compare the job applicants and verify the information stated by each of them.
  • Job Offer Letter– is an invitation to a specific applicant to work in the company. The offer letter describes the employment, including a new employee position, responsibilities, salary, benefits, and manager’s contact information.
  • Employment Verification Letter – verifies employment history and income. Employees may require the verification letter to confirm their salary and work history to a new employer, landlord, or bank.
  • Resignation Letter – an official way to inform a company about an employee’s intention to leave. The formal resignation notice is sent two weeks before the quitting date. However, depending on the circumstances, the employee may use a one-week or immediate notice.

Federal and State Forms

The new hire paperwork also includes filling out specific state and federal forms. These forms are legally required, as a rule, so you need to consider them before taking on new hires. The following documents are the most essential for hiring a new employee.

Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)

Also known as an Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9 proves that any of your employees are eligible to work in the United States. This USCIS form is filled out by every new hire providing their identity and work eligibility documents.

Employee’s Withholding Certificate (Form W-4)

Form W-4, or the Employee’s Withholding Certificate, is used for tax purposes. It informs the employer how much to withhold from the employee’s paycheck. The withholding money is sent to the IRS as the federal income tax. All new employees must file Form W-4. The current employees may use it to change the withholding amount. Independent contractors should use Form W-9 for such purposes.

Direct Deposit Form

A direct deposit form authorizes an employer to transfer money directly to an employee’s bank account. It helps an employer benefit from lower payroll processing labor costs and secure the money transfer. Employees, in their turn, gain from being paid on time and not having to go to the bank.

Bottom Line

Hiring a qualified specialist is a challenging task not only in terms of finding one but also of coping with all new hire paperwork. However, with our new hire forms, you should not feel confused. Start with a job application form and resume. After selecting a reliable applicant, you should hold an interview and, if everything’s okay, send them a job offer letter. Then, a new hire needs to verify their identity and eligibility to work in the U.S., so they fill out and submit corresponding federal forms. In conclusion, you should choose the agreement type and complete the template.

Published: Jul 30, 2021