Employee Name Change

What to do When an Employee has a Name Change

When an employee has a name change, employers should address several administrative issues. Prior to updating the employee's name in the organization's payroll system, an employer should require the employee to provide a copy of an updated Social Security card with the new name. 

To avoid Social Security mismatches, employers should ensure the name in their payroll system matches the one on the employee's current Social Security card. If an employee has not updated his or her Social Security card, the old name should remain in the employer's payroll system until the name is updated. Employees will also need to complete a new W-4. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that the name on the Social Security card match the name on W-4 and W-2 forms.

I-9s: Even though U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not require the I-9 to be updated with a name change, USCIS does recomĀ­mend that employers maintain correct information on Forms I-9 and note any name changes in Section 3 of the form.

Benefits: Benefit plans will need to be updated with the new name. Employers may want the employee to complete new beneficiary forms so that the new name is listed on the form. If the name change is due to a family status change (e.g., marriage or divorce), the employee may also wish to make a midyear change to the benefits plan to add or drop dependents consistent with this family status change.

Records: Employers will also want to update personnel records, phone lists, e-mail systems, and other employee lists and systems that include employee names. Where applicable, employers should cross-reference the previous name and new name so that a search using either the new or old name will retrieve the same records.

Licensures: If employee is required to have a Professional License (ex: Registered Nurse) they have 30 days to notify the Board. Employer shall obtain a new copy of updated license for employee file. 


Quick Checklist:

  1.  Obtain copy of updated social security card
  2.  Update Payroll System or Payroll Provider
  3.  Have employee complete a new W-4
  4.  Update benefits
  5.  Update HRIS or other Employee Records

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