Compliance updates, analysis, plus HR and payroll best practices from HR One
Do you hear that ringing? At this time of year, it must be wedding bells.... We’re entering one of the most popular times of the year for weddings, and employers may even find members of their team “tying the knot” in the coming weeks. So after you raise a toast, make sure your newly married employee takes some time to update their personal information and documents.
Name and Address Changes
Newly-married couples must apply to the Social Security Administration if they are changing their name or address. If your employee is moving or changing their name, you need to update the employee’s information sooner rather than later, to ensure Forms W-2 and W-4 have the correct information associated with it. Additionally, employers should update section 3 of the employee's I-9 form with their new name.
As a best practice, employers should require their employee to provide a copy of the updated Social Security card in order to implement name changes. Until an employee provides the appropriate documentation for a legal name change, the employer should not make changes to the file.
Update Benefit Information
We all know marriage is a big step… but it’s also a “qualifying life event (QLE).” A qualifying life event allows participants in a benefit plan to change their plan information and coverage outside of the annual open enrollment. When an employee has a QLE they will typically have 60 days to take action, but it’s important to check the details of your benefit plan. As the employer you may find it helpful to request new beneficiary forms in order to adjust. Benefit information that is directly impacted by a newly-married employee includes:
Adjust Filing Status and Withholding Amounts
According to the IRS, “A person’s marital status on Dec. 31 determines whether the person is considered married for that year.” Federal tax law allows married couples to choose how they prefer to file their taxes. If a newly-married couple plans to file a joint tax return, they may want to consider adjusting their federal, and if applicable, state, withholding allowances based on their new combined income, adjustments, deductions, exemptions, and credits.
Adjust Bank Accounts and Direct Deposit Information
Does your newly married employee want to update their direct deposit information to a new joint account with their new spouse? What about a new savings account for a down payment on a new home?
Emergency Contact Information
Finally, this is something that should be done periodically for all employees, but newly-married employees may want to make sure they update their emergency contact records if they have changed.
Now, none of this needs to be done the second your employee returns to work after their honeymoon, but it’s a good idea to be proactive and let them know ahead of time to think about what they’re going to do about their benefits, their taxes, etc. It may help to create a checklist to go over with them to make sure everything that needs to be updated is addressed in a timely manner. Employees should submit all changes in writing in order to properly document accurate changes.
For HR One payroll clients, you have the option to allow employees to make some of these changes directly through MyPayentry employee self-service.