Spring and fall are the two most popular times for couples to get married. This big life event not only takes time away from work, but also requires certain internal changes to be processed. Below are a few of the most common updates that every organization’s Human Resource department will need to adjust:

Name and Address Changes
Newly-married couples must apply to the Social Security Administration if they are changing their name or address. An organization’s HR department will want to adjust the employee’s information accordingly, to ensure Forms W-2 and W-4 have the correct information associated with it. As a best practice, employers should require the employee to provide a copy of the updated Social Security card in order to implement the changes. Until an employee provides the appropriate documentation, the employer should keep their original information on file.

Update Benefit Information
Benefit plans will need to update the qualified status changes and their effective dates. Employers may find it helpful to request new beneficiary forms in order to adjust. Note that each benefit plan has its own specific effective dates for changes; be sure to review effective dates with the employee as needed. Benefit information that is directly affected by a newly-married employee includes:

  •          Health and Dental Insurance
  •          Long-Term Disability Plans
  •          Life Insurance Plans
  •          Accident Insurance Plans
  •          Retirement Plans
  •          Flexible Spending Accounts
  •          Health Savings Accounts

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. In the event the newly-married couple plans to file a joint tax return, they may want to consider adjusting their withholding allowances based on the new combined income, adjustments, deductions, exemptions, and credits.

Emergency Contact Information
This is something that should be done periodically for all employees, but newly-married employees give a good reason to update records. Within internal systems it is beneficial to update personal information such as contact lists, email systems, and emergency contacts for each employee.

Adjust Bank Accounts and Direct Deposit Information
After a marriage, some couples decide to set up a joint bank account. This would cause your HR department to make adjustments for allocating wages into a new bank account and/or setting up a new direct deposit transfer.

Without correct information in your payroll system there can be many headaches to manage at year end. Give your newly-married employee the best wedding present you can, an updated employee file. Subscribe to our blog for information on Human Resources, Benefit Administration, and much more.

Photo Credit: Leland Francisco