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Marital Status

Hello - One of our recruiters is asking me why we need to have "actual marital status" (not W-4 status) in our HRIS. I hate to tell her "I don't know, it's always been that way". Can anyone give me any good reasons to have or not have it? Thanks - Leanne


  • I am more of a payroll person, but HRIS is used for many, many things. One possibility is that your provider(s) of health coverage require this information. A while back I was part of the implementation of the newest HRIS system, which had around 1,000 fields, maybe several dozen of which had anything to do with payroll. We had something like 3 different termination date fields, depending on what it was being used for.(last day worked versus last day of benefits... that sort of thing).

  • reasons to have -- health coverage issues, COBRA, beneficiary for retirement plans/QDRO issues, things like holiday party invitations, possible FMLA issues, etc. Those are just of the top of my head. I would say it is better to have it and not need it than to not have it and need it..

    I see more HR reasons though than payroll reasons....

  • In addition to everything listed above I have had tax levies come through that name the wife/husband as the liable party where we were forced to withhold for the spouse because they were not an employee...

  • The key is for YOU and your co-workers to sit down and determine EXACTLY what you and are not going to use each field for. A notebook with a definition of what each field does is not a bad idea, for audit purposes if nothing else.

    Not exactly the same thing, but I went to a place that was using ADP, and had three different fields called Other Wages. Nobody could tell me what each field was used for. And the fields did not use the same tax grids. I reinstalled ADP at year end and made sure that only I controlled earning/deduction code setups and that I formally documented every setup. Same idea. In a perfect world, kill it if you do not know what it does.

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