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Add a new employee to your payroll

Learn how to add and set up an employee in QuickBooks payroll products.

Here's how to add employees to your payroll. Follow these steps whether you're setting up payroll for the first time, or if you're just adding a new employee to your team.

Note: If you need to change an existing employee’s info, see Edit or change employee info in payroll instead.

Step 1: Get employee info

Here's what you need to have before you add an employee in the payroll system:

  • W-4: Employee’s Withholding Certificate of personal data such as name, address, social security number, dependents and adjustments. Your employees can enter this info when you invite them, but you are required to keep a copy of this for your records.
  • I-9: A form used to verify employment eligibility in the United States.
  • Email address: Send your employees an invite to add their personal info and have access to their pay stubs and W-2s online.
  • Work location: The address where your employee works.
  • Pay info: Employee’s salary or pay rate, other pay types, as well as pay schedule (how often you'll pay them)
  • Direct deposit info: Employee’s bank routing number and account number. Employees can add up to 2 bank accounts.
  • Pay history: This only applies if you're setting up your QuickBooks payroll service for the first time. If that's true, and you've paid your employees already this year, you’ll need their year-to-date pay stubs so that you can have accurate year-end totals for taxes, etc. We'll walk you through this, but be sure you have this info.

Step 2: Add your employees

Now that you have the necessary documents, let's set up your new employee. If you need to make changes to an employee who is already in the system, see Edit or change employee info in payroll instead.

Select your payroll product to get started

You have two options for how to add your new employee with QuickBooks Online Payroll:

  • Set up some info then invite your employee to add the rest. To do this you will invite them to QuickBooks Workforce with an email link.
  • Set up and add all employee info.
Inviting your employees to add their info can save you a lot of time, especially if you have many employees. This will also give them the option to view their pay stubs and W-2s online any time. Note that this is only available after you’ve completed your initial payroll setup.

Add your employee to payroll

  1. Open QuickBooks Online and go to Payroll.
  2. Select Employees, then Add an employee.
  3. If you want the employee to add some of their own info, enter the following in the Personal Info section:
    • First and last name
    • Hire date
    • Email address
    • Your employee gets an email inviting them to enter their Address, Social Security Number, W-4, and banking info through QuickBooks Workforce.
  4. Enter the info in each section, then select Done.

Tip: Helpful links for handling new employees

Set up employee default

You can set up employee defaults in QuickBooks Desktop for things that apply to all or majority of your employees. Each time you add a new employee, the defaults will automatically appear on the employee profile to save you some time. This can include things like:

  • Pay schedule or frequency
  • Sick or vacation policies
  • State worked / state taxes
  • Earnings or deductions

To access the employee defaults you must be signed in as the QuickBooks Admin:

  1. Select Edit, then Preferences.
  2. Select Payroll and Employees, then Company Preferences.
  3. Select Employee Defaults, then enter the changes that you want.
  4. Select OK twice to save changes.

Add your employee to payroll

  1. Select Employees, then Employee Center.
  2. Select New Employee and enter the employee’s info. There are many fields to use. Below is a list of required fields in each tab:
    • Personal - First and last name and social security number
    • Address and Contact - Home address and email address if you want to invite your employees to view their pay stubs and W-2s online.
    • Additional info - no required fields
    • Payroll info - Pay schedule or pay frequency, pay type and pay rate, Federal and state taxes. Add deductions, sick or vacation policies, and direct deposit if necessary.
    • Employment info - Hire date
    • Workers’ compensation (for QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Assisted and Enhanced Payroll only) - assign a workers compensation code if you want to track this through QuickBooks.
  3. Select Ok.

Tip: Helpful links for handling new employees

Add your employee to payroll

  1. Select Employees, then Add an Employee.
  2. Enter the employee’s info.
  3. Select Continue.

Tip: Helpful links for handling new employees

Step 3: Complete new state setup if you added an employee who lives/works in another state

If you received an email with the subject New info needed for company tax setup, or your employee lives and/or works in a different state from where your business is located, you may need to set up and pay taxes in that state. See Set up payroll taxes in a new state.

Helpful links

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