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Home > Master Publication List > Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Farm Internship Curriculum and Handbook > Farm Mentors' Guide to Complying with Employment Law in Oregon

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
(SARE) Farm Internship Curriculum and Handbook

Published 2007
Updated 2010

Farm Mentors' Guide to Complying with Employment Law in Oregon

A Checklist for Hiring Employees

  1. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  2. Set up Records for Withholding Taxes
    • IRS states you must keep records for four years.
    • Federal Income Tax Withholding (Form W-4)
      • Every employee must provide an employer with a signed W-4 on or before the date of employment.
    • Federal Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2)
      • On an annual basis, employers must report to the federal government wages paid and taxes withheld for each employee. This report is filed using Form W-2.
      • Employers must send Copy A of Forms W-2 to the Social Security Administration by the last day of February to report the wages and taxes of your employees for the previous year. In addition, employers should send copies of the W-2 to employees by January 31.
      • For more info on W-2 filing instructions and information, see:
    • State Taxes

  3. Obtain Employee Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)
    • Federal law requires employers to verify an employee's eligibility to work in the US. Within 3 days of hire, employers must complete an I-9, and by examining acceptable forms of documentation supplied by the employee, confirm the employee's citizenship or eligibility to work in the US. Employers do not file the I-9 with the federal government. Rather, an employer is required to keep an I-9 on file for 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year after the date of the employee's employment is terminated, whichever is later. To download Form I-9, see:

  4. Register with Oregon New Hire Reporting Program
    • The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 requires all employers to report newly hired and re-hired employees to a state directory within 20 days of their hire or rehire date. To download New Hire Reporting Form, see:

  5. Obtain Workers' Compensation Insurance
    • Businesses with employees are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state Workers' Compensation Insurance program. For more information about obtaining Workers' Compensation Insurance, see:

  6. Adopt Workplace Safety Practices
  7. Register for Unemployment Insurance Tax
    • Businesses with employees are required to pay unemployment insurance taxes under certain conditions. If your business is required to pay these taxes, you must register your business with the state of Oregon. To determine if your business is required to pay unemployment insurance tax, see:

  8. Post required notices
    • Employers are required by state and federal laws to prominently display certain posters in the workplace that inform employees of their rights and employer responsibilities under labor laws. For a list of required posters, see:

  9. File Your Taxes
    • If you are new employer, there are new federal and state tax filing requirements that apply to you.
    • Generally, each quarter, employers who pay wages subject to income tax withholding, social security, and Medicare taxes must file IRS Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Tax Return. Small businesses an annual income tax liability of $1,000 or less may file IRS Form 944, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return instead of Form 941.
    • You must also file IRS Form 940, Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return, if you paid wages of $1,500 or more in any calendar quarter or you had one or more employees work for you in any 20 or more different weeks of the year.
    • New and existing employers should consult IRS' Employer's Tax Guide to understand all their federal tax filing requirements. To download the Employer's Tax Guide, see:

  10. Keep Good Records

This checklist is meant to serve as a guide to help you get started as a new employer. Many new employers find it helpful to hire professionals to help with book keeping, payroll service and paying taxes. For further resources and information, see:


Other Strongly Recommended Steps

  1. Create a Detailed Plan for Hiring
    • Utilize Rogue Farm Corps application packet, or create one of your own.
    • Follow up with in-person interviews.

  2. Create a Clear and Complete Job Description/Personnel Policy
    • Clearly layout all job responsibilities and expectations.
    • Explain your work policies. For example: hours, pay rate, days off, hiring and firing, equipment use, health and safety, etc.

  3. Sign an Employment Agreement
  4. Have an Orientation Day
    • On the first day of work, show new employees around your farm and help orient them to their new home and work environment.

  5. Conduct Frequent Check-Ins
    • Follow up regularly regarding expectations, level of satisfaction, etc.

  6. Work Frequently With Your Crew
    • Nothing builds morale more than working side-by-side with your crew.

  7. Seek Help to Resolve Conflicts
    • Rogue Farm Corps is available to help mediate conflicts that arise. If necessary, we can arrange professional mediation to resolve serious conflicts. Do not let conflicts linger unresolved!

  8. Have Fun!
    • Positive and fun work environments encourage everyone to get more work done!

For more information on running a successful internship, check out the Farm Internship Curriculum and Handbook developed by local farmers.


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This page was last updated on: August 25, 2014