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  • Kathryn O'Leary, Esq.

Employers Should Treat Returning Employees As New Hires

Employers who are bringing back former employees that were laid off or terminated should treat them like new hires. Returning employees should be required to complete all "new hire" paperwork when they return to work including*:


⦁ Job application;

⦁ Form W-4 Federal Income Tax Withholding;

⦁ Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification; and

⦁ Acknowledgement of receipt of Employee Handbook.


Employers must also:


⦁ Report new hires to their state's new hire registry;

⦁ Register with state for payment of unemployment taxes;

⦁ Register with state for workers' compensation;

⦁ Display required posters in the workplace; and

⦁ Re-issue Employee Handbook.


Employers who employ Employment Agreements should require returning employees to enter these as well. Interruptions in the employment relationship can be construed as a separation of employment, thus triggering the beginning of non-compete or non-solicitation periods, for example. A prudent employer will a.) require all returning employees to re-enter employment agreements; and b.) follow all laws applicable to employment agreements (such as encouraging the employee to obtain legal advice before entering the agreement).


* Although not required by law, employers who offer 401K accounts (for example), may be required to obtain new election forms from employees.

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