Hire in The United States
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in The United States.
Currency of USA
The Capital of United States
Time Zone in United States
Important Facts About the Country of United States
Introduction to United States
The US is the third most-populous country in the world with a total population of over 300 million people. It is characterized as a liberal democracy with a federal political structure comprising 50 states and the District of Columbia. The powers of the federal government are separated between the executive, legislative and judiciary branches. The constituent states exercise significant powers of self-government. The capital city is Washington, D.C., although the largest metropolitan areas are New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.
What to Know about United States's Geography
The continental US is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Alaska, the largest US state, occupies a large peninsula in the extreme northwest of North America. Hawaii is an island group in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States. The US borders Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The United States also shares maritime borders with the Bahamas, Cuba and Russia. With an area of 9,833,516 square kilometers, the US is the third-largest country in the world
Climate in United States
As the US is such a large country, the climate varies considerably from region to region. Northern Alaska has an arctic climate with temperatures up to 30°C below zero, while most of the landmass of the USA is in a continental temperate climate zone. A completely different climate prevails in the southern states. While the Californian Pacific coast is relatively mild and Mediterranean with an annual average temperature of 17 °C, the Californian deserts and mountains have significantly higher temperatures. All in all, it is warm all year round in the southern states.
The Culture of United States
The United States is one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries. Nearly every region of the globe has influenced American culture, most notably the English who colonized the country beginning in the early 1600s. U.S. culture has also been shaped by the cultures of Native Americans, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians. The United States is often described as a “melting pot” in which different ethnicities have contributed their own distinct “flavors” to American culture.
Religions Observed in United States
Nearly every known religion in the world is practiced in the United States, which was founded on religious freedom. About 65% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, according to information gathered by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research group, in 2020. The research also found that about 28% had no religious affiliation at all and around 6% of the population is made up non-Christian religions.
Languages Spoken in United States
There is no “official” language at the federal level for the United States. While the most commonly used language is English, more than 300 languages are spoken or signed by the US population.
USA Human Resources at a Glance
Employment Law Protections in The United States of America
The laws governing employment relationships in the United States come from federal, state and local statutes, agency regulations and case law. In the United States, there are no mandatory requirements for hiring as most employment is non-contractual or “at will.” Montana is one exception, requiring just cause to terminate an employee. Elsewhere, the at-will employment doctrine provides flexibility to both employer and employee. Effectively, an employer is permitted to terminate an employee for good cause, bad cause or no cause, provided it is not a discriminatory cause (such as terminating because of age, race, ethnicity or gender) and not violating public policy in some way (such as retaliation for refusing to violate a law or statute). Likewise, an employee is permitted to quit or leave work under the same circumstances.
Employers must comply with federal, state and local labor laws. These laws govern work conditions, minimum wages, hours of work, the manner of making wage payments, meals, rest periods and the requirement for certain benefits, such as paid and unpaid leave. Federal labor requirements are enforced by the U.S Department of Labor and state labor laws are enforced by state labor departments. Local laws are generally enforced by the city mayor or a county agency.
Employment Contracts in United States
As per the laws of the United States, there are no minimum requirements for an employment contract. Also, in most states, no written memorialization of any terms is required. An employment relationship in the United States is presumed to be “at-will,” meaning it is terminable by either party with or without cause or notice. Indeed, most employees in the United States are employed on an “at-will” basis, without a written employment contract and only with a written offer of employment that outlines the basic terms and conditions of their employment. Employment contracts, when used, can vary widely. They can be fixed-term, indefinite, or open-ended (no limit on duration) or based on the completion of a project. Each of these types of contracts can be negotiated between the parties.
No legal provisions govern fixed or unlimited term contracts. Unlike many other countries, American law does not limit the duration of a fixed-term employment contract or the circumstances under which the parties can enter into a fixed-term employment contract. In the absence of an employment contract, employment relationships are presumed to be “at-will” and therefore terminable by either party at any time, with or without cause.
United States's Contract Terms
Employment contracts in the US can be indefinite, fixed-term, full-time or part-time. The individual terms will vary according to the state the employee is being hired. The employment relationship in the US is subject to markedly less regulation than in other countries. Except for some protections on wage and hours and a prohibition on discrimination, the parties to an employment relationship in the United States are generally free to negotiate and set the terms and conditions of their relationship
Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees
To be considered “exempt,” an employee must satisfy all three of the following requirements:
- Exempt employees must be paid a salary as opposed to being paid on an hourly basis. This means the employer pays the employee for any week in which they perform work, regardless of the quality or quantity of the work.
- On a federal level, exempt employees must earn $684 per week or $35,568 annually. Some states have higher thresholds.
- The nature of an exempt employee’s work must fall into one of the categories as defined by the FLSA, which includes exemptions for those performing executive, administrative or professional duties. It also exempts computer employees and those in outside sales.
Exempt employees are not covered by the FLSA and are, therefore, not entitled by law to overtime pay. In theory, exempt employees receive compensation for their overtime work from their salary or from other benefits offered by the employer. Salaried employee overtime law has no provisions protecting these employees from long hours. If they find they are regularly working overtime, they must negotiate with their employer for a higher salary, time in lieu or a more reasonable workload.
To make sure they are complying with salaried employee overtime laws, employers must become familiar with federal and local regulations. They should track the hours of employees, whether exempt and nonexempt. If not, they may be responsible for paying claims of mistakenly treating employees as exempt when they are nonexempt and failing to identify, record and compensate “off-the-clock” hours (e.g. taking work home, working through lunch, etc). Employers may also be liable to include “wage augments” when calculating an employee’s overtime rate.
Non-Exempt employees must be paid minimum wage plus overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime must be paid at 1.5 times the regular pay rate. Employers must also consult the state labor laws in the state where the employee is working for additional requirements. Employees are considered non-exempt unless they qualify for an exemption under federal or state law.
Employers and employees should check with federal and state regulations to determine exemption status. Before classifying and treating any employee as exempt, employers should verify that the employee satisfies all applicable tests for overtime exemption under federal and state laws. If an employee is covered by both federal and state law but doesn’t satisfy both sets of tests, employers should consult with counsel to determine how they should classify the employee in that particular circumstance.
United States's Guidelines Regarding Probation Period/Trial Period
No legal provision governs a formal “trial period.” However, some employers prefer, from a business perspective, to have an internal policy on trial periods. This is often referred to as “introductory periods” or “probationary periods,” which generally provide for a formal performance evaluation after an initial stated period of employment (typically 90 days).
Regulations and Rules Regarding Working Hours in United States
Federal law regulates wages, working hours and overtime pay for non-exempt employees. However, employees in executive, administrative or professional positions are exempt, as are outside sales employees, certain skilled computer professionals, employees of certain seasonal amusement and recreational businesses.
USA Laws Regarding Overtime
Under federal law, non-exempt employees must generally be paid 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked above 40 hours per week. An exemption from the overtime pay requirement applies to certain categories of employees (e.g., executive, administrative and professional provided the requirements are met. States and localities have additional regulations on overtime pay and requirements and may require overtime pay for exceeding a daily hour threshold. In some instances, the regulation may require an overtime rate of two times the regular rate of pay
The FLSA does not offer specifics for how data should be collected and managed nor whether a time and attendance app should be used. However, it does state that it is mandatory to keep a record of employee working hours for hourly, non-exempt employees as well as exempt and non-exempt salaried employees.
Health and Safety in the Workplace
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for protecting worker health and safety in the US. Employers are required to provide employees with a safe and healthy place of employment that is free from recognized hazards (death or serious physical harm). Employers are obliged to remedy known workplace hazards, limit the amount of hazardous chemicals workers can be exposed to, use certain safe practices and equipment, monitor hazards and keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses. Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued its guidance with detailed instructions on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools and homes.
For home office situations where the employee performs office work activities (e.g. filing, computer research or work, reading, writing, etc.), employers have little responsibility. In fact, OSHA has issued guidance stating that it will not conduct inspections of employees’ home offices, it will not hold employers liable and it does not expect employers to inspect an employee’s home office.
Additionally, employers who are required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses under the OSH Act are responsible to do so even when the injury or illness happens in an employee’s home. However, for an injury sustained at home to be considered a “work-related” injury, it must have 1) occurred while the employee is being paid to work, and 2) be directly related to the performance of the employee’s work duties (as opposed to the general home environment).
Rules Regarding Bonus and 13th Month Pay in United States
In the United States, bonuses and 13th month pay are not required. A bonus is a considered payment made in addition to an employee’s regular earnings. Under the FLSA, all compensation for hours worked, services rendered or performance is included in the regular rate of pay. However, the FLSA provides a list of payments that may be excluded from the regular rate of pay, including certain bonuses. Unless specifically noted, payments excluded from the regular rate may not be credited towards overtime compensation.
A bonus is discretionary only if all the statutory requirements are met: a) The employer has the sole discretion – until at or near the end of the period that corresponds to the bonus – to determine whether to pay the bonus. b) The employer has the sole discretion to determine the amount of the bonus and c) the bonus payment is not made according to any prior contract, agreement or promise causing an employee to expect these payments regularly.
A nondiscretionary bonus is considered any bonus payment that fails to meet the statutory requirements of a discretionary bonus. Nondiscretionary bonuses are to be included in the regular rate of pay, unless they qualify as excludable under a separate statutory provision.
Generally, workers employed on an “at-will” basis may be terminated – with or without cause or grounds – provided it is not for an illegal reason. Notably, an illegal reason would be discrimination on grounds of a category protected by law or termination because of protected “whistleblowing” activity. Whistleblowing is the reporting of certain activities where the employee reasonably believes that the information he or she provided relates to potential violations of specific laws by the employer. For terminations of at-will employment, no cause is required although it is always preferable to have sufficient cause when terminating an employee. If the cause is not provided (and there is no legal requirement to do so), the former employee may consider pursuing legal action charging that (a) the employer did not provide a valid reason for the termination and (b) the termination was done for an impermissible reason, such as discrimination.
United States's Requirements Regarding Notice Periods
Notice tendered by Employer
Except in certain mass dismissals, U.S. law does not impose a formal “notice period” to terminate an individual employment relationship. Most employees in the US are employed “at-will.” Either party can terminate the employment relationship without notice. However, the general practice is to provide at least two weeks of base pay and medical benefit continuation in lieu of notice. Each employer will select an appropriate period of time and then generally maintain a consistent approach for subsequent terminations.
Notice tendered by Employee
Similarly, employees are not required to provide a formal notice period, as there is no statutorily required minimum length of notice. However, the general practice is to provide at least two weeks’ notice.
Payment in Lieu
Pay in lieu of notice is permitted in cases where the employer chooses to apply a notice period. Garden leave, a period during which an exiting employee is paid his or her salary but is not allowed to work, is not a common concept in the US. Because it is not a common arrangement in the U.S., the federal and state laws regarding garden leave are nominal and each situation will be examined independently. Unlike in many countries, however, it should not be assumed that an extended garden leave (beyond a period reasonable for normal transition) is valid in the U.S. if it otherwise does not satisfy restrictive covenant requirements.
Redundancy/Severance Pay in United States
Many employers use separation agreements, which provide additional money and benefits to terminating employees in exchange for an agreement to waive any claims related to their employment or termination as well as an agreement not to sue the employer for any reason. These are very common in the US and they can come in many forms. These agreements are highly variable and unique to each employer. Employers also may utilize a severance payment plan. These plans are prepared well in advance of a termination and generally apply to any terminations issued by the employer, although there can be exceptions.
Post Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants
Generally, US courts hold that a covenant restricting the activities of an employee following his or her employment will be enforced if it protects the employer’s legitimate business interests, is reasonably limited (in scope, time and place), is supported by consideration and is reasonable. The following restrictive covenants are recognized and may be enforceable under the law: i) non-compete clauses; ii) non-solicitation of customers and iii) non-solicitation of employees.
Trade Unions / Collective Agreements in United States
Collective bargaining agreements are highly variable but usually provide specific termination protections beyond the normal discrimination or public policy prohibitions. The termination process is often time-consuming and subject to arbitration or unfair labor practice claims, which are initiated by the union on behalf of the member (if the procedural steps are not followed properly). Unions are likely to challenge terminations on substantive grounds as well so additional care must be taken by the employer when selecting a member for termination.
Tax and Social Security Information for Employers in the United States
Personal Income Tax in United States
Income tax is levied at two different levels: Federal and State. Some cities and municipalities also levy Income tax. Therefore, an individual’s total income tax liability depends on the state and the municipality where the individual resides or works. US taxpayers must file tax returns annually with the IRS and with the state and local tax authorities under whose jurisdiction they live if those governments impose income or net worth taxes. On the federal return, taxpayers must report income and deductions and must compute the tax due. Taxes are generally collected by employer withholding on wages and salaries and by individual payment of estimated taxes on income not subject to withholding. On a State level, periodic returns of income tax withholding are also required with varying due dates, and most require that an annual state or local Form W-2 be provided to employees and filed with the taxing authority.
US citizens and resident aliens are subject to Income tax on their worldwide income, regardless of source. All US citizens and residents, including residents aliens and citizens who reside outside the US, pay federal tax on their worldwide income, with credits for foreign income taxes (subject to certain limitations).
A non-resident alien is subject to US tax on income that is effectively connected with a US trade or business and on US-source fixed or determinable, annual or periodic gains, profits and income (generally investment income, including dividends, royalties and rental income).
2023 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Rates
|Tax Rate||For Single Filers||For Married Couples Filing Jointly||For Heads of Households|
|10%||$0 – $11,000||$0 – $22,000||$0 – $15,700|
|12%||$11,000 – $44,725||$22,000 – $89,450||$15,700 – $59,850|
|22%||$44,725 – $95,375||$89,450 – $190,750||$59,850 – $95,350|
|24%||$95,375 – $182,100||$190,750 – $364,200||$95,350 – $182,100|
|32%||$182,100 – $231,250||$364,200 – $462,500||$182,100 – $231,250|
|35%||$231,250 – $578,125||$462,500 – $693,750||$231,250 – $578,100|
|37%||> $578,125||> $693,750||> $578,100|
2023 Standard Deduction
|Filing Status||Deduction Amount|
|Married Couples Filing Jointly||$27,700|
|Heads of Households||$20,800|
Social Security in United States
|Type of Social insurance||Paid by employer||Paid by employee||Total||Maximum Contributions (per annum)|
|Social Security’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (FICA-OASDI)||6.2%||6.2%||12.40%||Employee USD 160,200 Employer USD 160,200|
|FICA – Medicare||1.45%||1.45%||2.90%||No Maximum Contribution|
|Additional Medicare||0%||0.9%||0.90%||Calendar year wages paid in excess of $200,000 for single filers/$250,000 for joint filers|
|Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)||6.0%||0%||6.0%||Employer, on the first $7,000 of wages subject to FUTA|
*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged by GoGlobal will differ.
Some states have a State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA) Others may call it SUI, UI or Reemployment Tax. The percentage of SUTA varies by state. Each state determines the wage base or minimum earnings required for the taxes to be applied.
Other Payroll Taxes
Employers must comply with many different types of local payroll taxes. These taxes are based on where your employees work and live. Employers must pay state disability insurance and paid family and medical leave. The rates, wage base and minimum earnings required for the taxes to be applicable vary by state.
Employers must also pay worker’s compensation insurance (workers comp), which is purchased as private insurance by business owners in most states. However, some states require it to be paid as a tax. Costs vary depending on factors such as the business’ location, industry, payroll and employee classification code.
Employers can also acquire employment practices liability insurance (EPLI), as it covers businesses against claims by workers that their legal rights as employees of the company have been violated. EPLI provides protection against many kinds of employee lawsuits, including claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, etc. The cost of EPLI coverage depends on the type of business, the number of employees and various risk factors
Important Information for USA Employees
In general, wages must be paid by cash or check. Most states permit payment by direct deposit or by debit card but only with the written consent of employees and only if the employees are not subject to a fee to withdraw their pay. Most states regulate the frequency at which employees must be paid. It can be either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, varying by state.
A statement of wages (often known as a pay stub) must be issued on or before the day of the related salary payment. The information included on the pay stub may vary as states have specific requirements for the information that must be provided to employees each payday. Thi typically requires regular hours, regular pay, overtime hours and overtime pay.
There is no requirement for paid time off for annual leave or vacation time under federal law. An exception applies for employers with fewer than 500 employees, who are absent for reasons connected with COVID-19. In practice, most employers provide employees with paid vacation time. It may range from one week per year during the first few years to three weeks or more for long-serving employees. Employees represented by a union may receive more generous vacation time.
The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers (those with fifty (50) or more employees within a seventy-five (75) mile radius) to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. Group health insurance coverage will continue under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Under the FMLA, employees may be entitled up to 12 weeks’ unpaid medical leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing the functions of his or her job. Though there is no national law guaranteeing paid sick leave, several states, counties and cities require employers doing business within their boundaries to offer paid sick leave.
Compassionate and Bereavement Leave
Under the FLSA, there is no specific, mandated provision for paid bereavement leave. However, the FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family-related matters. Given the emotional nature of such occasions, most organizations are understanding enough to grant unpaid time off to the employee.
Maternity & Parental Leave
Under the FMLA, employers with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius are required to provide employees with 12 weeks’ unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the birth or placement of a child. Some state laws provide for maternity leave for employees who are not covered under the FMLA. In addition, several US states provide workers with partial pay during a period of parental leave. In general, it seems there is a trend toward state family leave laws.
Although the US government recognizes several “national holidays,” the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as holidays (federal or otherwise). These benefits are typically a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative). However, it is customary for employers to provide employees with paid time off to observe nationally and locally recognized holidays.
Benefits to the Employee in The United States
USA Statutory Benefits
- Social Security, Medicare, and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)
- Unemployment insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Family and medical leave
Some states and local jurisdictions require paid family leave as well as paid sick and safe leave.
Other job benefits are offered at the employer’s discretion. These can include paid vacation, health insurance, life and disability insurance (in some states, short-term disability leave is mandatory), 401(k) retirement savings plans, education assistance, wellness programs and childcare assistance.
Rules Regarding Visas and Foreign Workers in United States
Individuals will be required to obtain a work visa to work in the US. There are two ways through which you can go to the US for employment purposes: as a temporary employee or as a sponsored/permanent employee. Temporary employees need a US non-immigrant visa, while sponsored employees need an immigrant visa. There are several different types of visas for both non-immigrant and immigrant options.
Since work visas are so attractive and many people want to get them, the U.S government has limited them to 140,000 visas per year. This means that, among all the types of employment visas, only 140,000 are available each year. Because of this, the waiting time to get these types of visas can be quite long.
Public Holidays Recognized by United States in 2023
|1||New Year’s Day1||01.Jan.2023|
|2||Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.||16.Jan.2023|
|5||Juneteenth Emancipation Day||19.Jun.2023|
|8||Indigenous Peoples’ Day (formerly Columbus Day)||09.Oct.2023|
When a federal holiday falls on a weekend, the holiday is usually observed the Friday before or the Monday after.
1 Observed on Jan 2 (Mon)
2 Observed on Nov 10 (Fri)