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Ready to Hire Employees? Here's what you need to do to make sure it's done legally, effectively and wisely.

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( - Jen Keller didn't expect a crash course in being an employer when she opened Strung Out Beads and Wiring nearly three years ago, but that's exactly what she got. "Right away, we knew we would need employees," says Keller, now 18. Even before the make-your-own-jewelry store in downtown Somerville, New Jersey, opened, she hired workers to unpack inventory--exotic beads of all materials--and help set up displays. After opening, she employed friends from school, but soon she realized she knew little about being a boss.

Like Jen, most new business owners find the prospect of hiring employees a little intimidating. Not only must you conduct interviews and decide whom to hire, but you also have to train, manage, reprimand and even occasionally fire those you've hired. Oh, and don't forget that you have to pay them, too (and decide how much to pay them).

But aside from interacting with your employees on a day-to-day basis, there are numerous laws employers must abide by. There are federal, and sometimes state, laws regulating everything from the lowest hourly wage you can pay an employee and reasons you can give for not hiring someone without being guilty of discrimination, to what you must withhold from employees' paychecks and requirements for providing a safe and healthful workplace.

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