Start date. Hire date.
Are the two the same? Are they interchangeable? When it comes to these two phrases, it boils down to semantics. But there are general guidelines a payroll professional can use when onboarding a new employee. Consider the following.
Hire date is normally the date when an employee first completes his or her new hire paperwork. In most companies today, this process begins online before someone comes to the office for an official 'first day.' New hire paperwork includes the usual culprits: Form W-4, Form I-9, state forms, and other payroll withholding forms. Some businesses may include unique paperwork that pertains to them strictly. At other companies, the hire and start can be the same day, if they make employees fill out crucial documents in person.
An employee cannot be added to payroll until this is all completed, and if an employee cannot get paid for his or her work, that person cannot truly 'start' a new job.
Start date, in its simplest form, is whenever someone starts working. This is the first day an employee can be paid. However, to be paid, employees must fill out the appropriate paperwork as forementioned.
An employee’s start date is also the important date for beginning benefits. For example, at some corporations, employees receive paid time off after 30 days of work. To know when to offer this, you must know the start date. Likewise, health insurance and other benefits are generally offered after a certain amount of time passes. This is all linked to an employee’s start date - not his or her hire date.
Joe interviews for a new job. After two weeks, the company offers him a job. They send him his onboarding paperwork online via the business’s human resources portal, and he completes it that day. That is his hire date. The following week, on Monday, Joe begins training in office. That is his start date. The business links his benefits to this day.
While it may be open to some interpretation, the hire date of an employee and the start date are two separate entities. Have your own insight on hire date vs. start date? Join the conversation on PayrollTalk!