When newlywed employees return to the office after their wedding celebration, they bring back more than a wedding ring — they can have a new last name, a new address, and even a new bank account. Learn how to update your records swiftly to lessen the woes in the payroll process later on.
There isn’t a tactful way to put this: an employee’s marriage presents a logistical hiccup for you and your payroll records. However, knowing what steps to take before the subject comes up will significantly ease your company’s transition and speed up the process. In the interest of minimizing stress later on, here is a quick rundown of what you should accomplish before your employees go back on the clock.
Name & Address
Two of the most common—and most crucial—pieces of employee information that change with marriage are their address and their name. You need to update W-2s and W-4s accordingly, and it’s a good idea to request an updated Social Security card and/or driver license for your records as well. Once the newlywed employee knows their new address, if he or she is moving at all, they should inform your payroll and HR contact as soon as possible.
In addition, find out if the employee will be using their new name professionally and, if so, they may require a new email address, revised business cards, and other updated branding materials to reflect their new moniker.
Beneficiary Designations & Health Care Benefits
Newlywed employees will need to update their beneficiary records and with a new spouse may or may not come a new addition to your company’s health insurance and retirement plans. While benefits have different effective dates, consider having your employee fill out a new beneficiary report to make sure you have an entirely up-to-date copy. Minimally, your employee will need to update their exemption status, but you may have to add a spouse to your employee’s plan—another process that you’ll want to be aware of as soon as he or she returns to work. On the other hand, the employee may opt for coverage on their spouse’s health care plan(s), which also may require changes on your end.
Payroll & Direct Deposit
Finally, since many couples opt for a joint account post-marriage, you may have to revise their bank information and direct deposit payment setup. The easiest way to do this is to find the pertinent hiring paperwork—it should be universal, so you shouldn’t have to redo this process every time someone gets married—and have your employee update it. That way, you can consolidate your employee’s information in an accessible format.
Many employees simply may not realize the paperwork and process that goes into name and address changes, so simply make sure they are aware of the “what” and “why” of the process and they should abide by your requests without hassle.
Additional Caveats to Consider
The institution of marriage has seen some recent changes, so you will probably face some logistical issues in 2016. For example, the most common months for weddings have traditionally been May, June, and July, but the popularity is now seeping into the early Fall as well. Therefore, you may want to plan and prepare ahead of the May-November wedding season. In addition, with recent amendments to same-sex marriage on a federal level, you may see an incline in the number of marriages at your organization. This shouldn’t affect your business insofar as its functionality goes, but it again helps to be organized and streamlined ahead of any impending nuptials.
As always, you should also remember to check state legislature regarding marriage protocol in the workplace before initiating the update process to ensure your employee’s satisfaction. While marriage is a much more relaxed topic than maternity leave or a workplace injury, it is still a state-governed procedure—and, since an out-of-state wedding is a reasonable possibility for your employee, you should make sure you have all of your bases covered in the event of an audit.
Need more HR guidance?
The HR and payroll paperwork that goes into hiring new employees and maintaining accurate records of your current staff members can cause a headache if not organized efficiently. If you don’t have an HR department and are trying to stay on top of legislation and compliance yourself, consider outsourcing your HR functions for a nominal fee.
Marriage is a cause for celebration, so don’t let it cause you a headache. To learn more about how to manage a newlywed employee’s transition, call Abacus Payroll at 856-667-6225 today!