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Just curious if it's justified for a company to have me fill out all new hire forms (including job specific forms) without compensation and on my own time. I'm used to filling these forms out during work hours when I begin a new job and was under the impression that this does count as "work".

EDIT: Obviously this is not the biggest deal and I am not going to go in ranting and raving about it, I am only curious if this is actually legal or not.

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    You could refuse and see what happens
    – Kilisi
    Oct 9, 2019 at 0:43
  • If the new hire forms are for yourself, I don't think this counts as work. Its simply paper work to ensure you are hired and the relevant information is on their system when you start to work. It is pretty easy to fill out forms digitally using Adobe PDF, and even the free versions have signature options that use a picture.
    – Shadowzee
    Oct 9, 2019 at 0:45
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    I am actually shocked that someone would think this.
    – Keltari
    Oct 9, 2019 at 4:31
  • Your next step is that you should send the company a bill demanding pay for the hours you spent on the previously held interview ;) On a serious note: Just let it be if you want to start on a good foot..
    – iLuvLogix
    Oct 9, 2019 at 13:09

3 Answers 3

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The bigger question is if it's worth having a fight with your new employer over it. I've had situations where it's been done both on or off the clock. Whether you are prepared to wear the $5 is a decision you will have to make.

If it were me, I'd let it go and just get on with my new role. It's a once-off and part of the onboarding process, so making a fuss about it probably isn't useful :)

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    Completely agreed. I thought to myself, $5? I mean, we're talking something like 15 minutes (at most) of your new salary with the company. Let it slide.
    – Kevin
    Oct 9, 2019 at 1:39
  • Also does not make a good impression at the start worrying over $5 and a few hours of your time
    – Ed Heal
    Oct 9, 2019 at 5:41
  • My current company made me send documents by DHL, costing me in excess of 40USD. I was not happy, but I decided the sacrifice is worth, since they agreed to provide a decent package. @JaneS: I would highlight / bold the "if it's worth having a fight", I give you +1 for this insight.
    – virolino
    Oct 9, 2019 at 6:26
  • I've never had a job that had so little paper work it only took $5 to fill out and read. I would budget for an hour at least.
    – Bertelem
    Oct 14, 2019 at 7:36
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You would probably be pleasantly surprised to know that a lot of decent companies will offer you lunch on your first day, or some other means to compensate and welcome you. If not your employer, then one or multiple of your coworkers. Other means of compensation will certainly present themselves.

As for entitlement to compensation, the answer to your question is no unless you have it in your job offer that they will compensate you for any fees that you have to incur in order to finalize your employment. I've had that before, in the form of transportation vouchers. Any form of compensation will certainly be a nice gesture.

As for whether or not it counts as work, the answer to your question is maybe - under §785.11 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as the FLSA counts anything "suffered or permitted" to work as payable, as long as it reaches certain criteria. If they made it clear that you can do it when you get there, then the answer is no, as a criterion is that it must be mandatory and outside of work hours. Otherwise, then maybe. But I'd advise against it as it's minimal and rocks the boat.

On another note, in the future, might I suggest free services, or at least free trials of services, that offer signatures? I use SmallPDF and PDFEscape, which allow you to insert text and draw signatures. If a company requires a fax then I find a fax service online where I upload the document and it's faxed for me. I've found free services, but the last service I used was a dollar. If the forms are not sent to me digitally, then I simply go get a copy of those forms online since the IRS offers them anyway.

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justified for a company to have me fill out all new hire forms without compensation and on my own time

Sure, if you do it.

Unsure if they wanted you to do it on your own time or not. If it was a hassle for me I'd just take the forms in on my first day and use their resources.

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