How to set up a new employee

You’ve hired someone. Now go through these steps to get them set up in your systems and settled into their new role.

If things are already set up for them, employees will be able to start work faster, which will save you time, money and effort.

To get you started on what you might need to set up before your new employee starts, here’s a list of some of the most common things workplaces have to consider:

Employee equipment checklist [DOCX, 54 KB]

Employee equipment checklist [PDF, 92 KB]

Case study

Case study

Car costs

Caroline, a sales representative who covers the lower parts of the North Island, was hired to sell a company’s new product to retail outlets. However, because a company car wasn’t made available on her start date, she spent a week off the road.

This cost the company more than $1,000 and gave her a poor first impression of her new workplace.

Setting up new employees with user names, passwords and other digital systems before they start working will get them settled in faster when they do arrive.

CERT NZ’s easy-to-use set of guides can help you decide the best steps to take to protect your business from cyber security risks. Another great resource for online security advice is the non-profit organisation Netsafe.

It’s good practice to set up employee specific email addresses and add them to a company-wide group list.

Guides(external link) — CERT NZ

Netsafe(external link) — Netsafe

Use this template to help your new employee gain access to your digital systems:

Digital system access template [DOCX, 59 KB]

Digital system access template [PDF, 76 KB]

3. Notify your insurance company

To protect yourself, you should inform your insurance provider that you’ve taken on a new employee and that you want to add them to your policies.

Adding more employees into your policies will likely cost you more.

Adding more employees into your policies will likely cost you more.

This could be a good time to compare your plan against other providers or contact an insurance broker for advice.

As an employer, you’re obliged by law to keep an employee file with specific information.

Use this checklist to make sure you’re capturing all the required information:

Employee personnel file checklist [DOCX, 68 KB]

Employee personnel file checklist [PDF, 74 KB]

Remember, you need to keep an electronic or paper copy of employee files for at least seven years. For more information see:

5. Prepare for employee payroll

Before setting up your new employee’s payroll, first determine what their KiwiSaver information is, their tax code, and how they want to be paid, eg bank account details.

Before starting work, all new employees must fill out a Tax code declaration (IR330)  and return it to you.

If you haven’t got it already, it’s a good idea to ask your employee to bring their bank account details on their first day.

Complete my tax code declaration(external link) — Inland Revenue


It’s your responsibility to check who might be exempt. Those who have been automatically enrolled, but don’t want to be KiwiSaver members, can complete Inland Revenue's opt-out request form (KS10). Note: those on temporary, visitor or student permits are not permitted to join KiwiSaver.

Automatically enrol employees into KiwiSaver(external link) — Inland Revenue

Opt out of KiwiSaver(external link) — Inland Revenue

Get set for payday

Now's the time to set up payroll with the information you've received from your new employee.

If you haven't done so already, you'll need to register as an employer with Inland Revenue. If you haven't already registered for one, myIR account for your business(external link) will make your transactions with Inland Revenue smoother and save you time in the long run.

For help with setting up payroll, contact an accountant or consider getting payroll software.

Remember that if an employee's working arrangements change, this will affect their payroll — so make sure you update your system.

Your employee’s first day or week

Register as an employer(external link) — Inland Revenue

myIR Secure Online Services(external link) — Inland Revenue

While most employees are automatically enrolled in KiwiSaver, not all are.

While most employees are automatically enrolled in KiwiSaver, not all are.

6. Share your company policies

By sharing company policies before employees start - such as start and finish times, dress codes and prohibited substance use - you’ll set clear expectations.

Give your employee a printed copy of company policies so that they have it as a reference.

Read about policies and procedures

Share your health and safety policy 

Keeping on top of health and safety issues will help keep you compliant, protect your employees, and keep your workplace productive.

It is a legal requirement that you must have a company health and safety policy. See WorkSafe’s Tools and resources for more information.

Tools and resources(external link) — WorkSafe

Show your employees where fire exits and safety equipment are located and give them evacuation training.

As an employer you need to identify and manage hazards to keep your employees and anyone else around your worksite safe.

Case study

Case study

Break time

Jono, a new chef at a steak house, had always taken breaks in previous restaurants while desserts were being served after the main dinner rush.

Before his first night at work, Jono and his employer Marnie discuss the timing of rest and meal breaks.

They agree to these breaks during the 5pm to midnight shift:

  • first paid 10-minute rest break at 7pm, two hours after Jono starts work
  • 30-minute unpaid meal break at about 10pm, when the rush is usually over
  • second 10-minute rest break at a time that suits Jono and the other kitchen staff.

With this understood, both parties know what is acceptable.

All employers must allow employees to take their minimum paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks under the law. It's a good idea to set out the details in your employment agreements.

Breaks(external link) — Employment Agreement Builder

7. Provide access to your workplace and other tools and resources

Employees will feel trusted and more independent if you’ve given them access to items like vehicle keys, swipe cards and hardware.

Having a sign-in and sign-out sheet can be a great way to know who has got what. It also means that if you're looking for an item, you know who to ask.

8. Set up holidays and leave arrangements

Having internal systems around staff holidays and leave will allow you to plan workloads, budgets and allocate resources.

Find out about holidays and leave.

Employees can ask to cash-up part of their holiday leave —  up to a week each year — if they'd like money instead of time off.

Employees can ask to cash-up part of their holiday leave — up to a week each year — if they'd like money instead of time off.

If you don't want to do this, put in place a "no cash up" policy and make sure everyone knows about it.

Cashing up annual holidays(external link) — Employment New Zealand

Build your own workplace policies

Build your own workplace policies

Use our Workplace Policy Builder to create policies tailored to your workplace. The tool has tips to help you decide what to put in and leave out of your policy. You’ll also find common mistakes employers make and ways to avoid them. 

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