While we hope that new employees will stay with the company, there are times when a new employee will not return after a new hire orientation. This may lead employers to wonder if it is worth the hassle of entering the employee into the payroll system to pay them for orientation and training that only spans one pay period. In nearly every situation, federal and state law will require you to pay this employee for their time and therefore enter them into payroll, issue a paycheck and then issue a W-2 at the end of the year.  

What is new hire orientation?  

New hire orientation typically occurs on the employee’s first day of work. Employers introduce new hires to their company and collect necessary new hire onboarding paperwork. These meetings often discuss company culture, job descriptions, benefits, and pay. Many companies conduct new hire orientations so that new employees can better understand where they will be working and what their role will be.  

When is it not required to pay employees for new hire orientation? 

Orientation can be considered a training program, lecture, or a meeting; therefore, new hires must be paid for their time spent during orientation. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that workers must be paid for hours they are “suffered” or “permitted to work.” 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has strict criteria that must be met if employers do not pay employees for training. These are the four requirements that must be met:   

  • Attendance must be outside normal work hours 
  • Attendance must be voluntary 
  • The event cannot be related to employee’s job 
  • No other work can be performed  

 Because new hire orientation is typically during normal work hours, mandatory, related to the employee’s work, and usually requires other work to be performed, employees must be paid for time spent in orientation.   

What should I do if an employee didn’t complete their I-9 or W-4 form for payroll?  

If a new employee did not complete their W-4 or other employment paperwork, the company should withhold taxes as if the individual had claimed no exemptions. Then, they need to send the check to the employee’s last known address, which may be found on the employee’s application or resume. 

Employees must be paid for the work they do, even if it only spans one pay period. Accurately paying employees will keep them motivated to work for your company and keep you in compliance. 

If you have questions, reach out to our HR experts at humanresources@helpside.com