10. Adopt workplace safety measures. Virtually every employer must comply with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) by, among other things, providing a workplace free of hazards, training employees to do their jobs safely, notifying government administrators about serious workplace accidents, and keeping detailed safety records. For information on these rules, go to website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at www.osha.gov.
11. Create an employee handbook. Although not required, it is an excellent idea to have a handbook describing your business’s employee policies and making it clear that employment is at-will unless an employee has signed a written employment contract. A great resource is Create Your Own Employee Handbook: A Legal & Practical Guide, by Lisa Guerin and Amy DelPo (Nolo).
12. Set up personnel files. For each employee you hire, create a file in which to keep job-related documents, such as job applications, employment offers, IRS Form W-4, performance evaluations, and sign-up forms for employee benefits. Medical records should be kept in a separate, confidential file, in a locked cabinet. You should also store I-9 Forms, which document an employee’s immigration status, in a separate file as well. For more information on developing a system for storing and maintaining personnel records, including state-by-state rules about employee access to their files, see The Employer’s Legal Handbook, by Fred Steingold (Nolo).
13. Set up employee benefits. If your business has established employee benefit programs such as health insurance or a 401(k) plan, you’ll need a sign-up procedure so employees can enroll, name their dependents, and select options.
by: Beth Laurence, J.D.LDIR.1.30.