If you want to work in the United States you should listen to and read the following interview by Michelle of English-Team:
Interview with a Human Resources Representative
Hello English language learners, this is Michelle with English-Team and today I’m here with Julie. Julie, how are you doing today?
- I’m good, thank you.
- Well, Juli can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?
- Sure, my name is Julie, I was originally born in Michigan, but moved around a lot as a child, lived in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, finally settled down into Florida and I’ve been in the Central Florida area for about ten years now.
- Ah, that’s a long time.
- Eh, yes it is.
- So Julie can you tell me what you do for a living?
- Sure, I work in the human resources department at a company, I’m human resources records manager.
- OK, can you explain to me what a typical day is like for you?
- Well, a typical day, there really isn’t such a thing as a typical day because you really never know sometimes what you’re gonna be walking into but the normal thing is that in the records department we approve a lot of job actions so if somebody is going to be hired or if somebody is going to get a pay rate change, or somebody is leaving the company, we then have to go through and approve these job actions.
- OK. So now I’d like to ask you a few general human resources questions. Is that OK with you?
- OK. The first question is what documents does a person need to provide to a company to legally work in the United States?
- Well, whether you’re a US citizen or an international employee you have to provide proof of identity and authorization to work in the United States. So for international employees there’s usually documents that they’re provided whether it’s an unexpired foreign passport or the arrival document, and then there will be some type of work authorization document if they’re an international student it’s usual an I20, if they’re coming in the United States in different statuses they would have a different type of work authorization document.
- OK, can you tell me what the current minimum wage is?
- In the United States it’s $7.25 an hour but then there’s also state minimum wages and since I live in Florida it’s $7.79 an hour.
- OK, can you tell me what are some company benefits and how does one qualify for them?
- Well, every company is different but most of the time if you are hired into what’s called a ‘line benefited position’ you’re usually offered things like health insurance, dental, life insurance, there’s usually some type of retirement plan, whether it’s a 4O1K or a 43B and usually on your first day of hire or your week, the first week you’re there, you sign up for all these different types of benefits.
- OK. Can you also tell me what an EIN is and a taxpayer ID and how they’re different?
- Sure, an EIN an employer identification number so when you start a company, for tax purposes you have to acquire one of these numbers and it’s usually done through the IRS. Now the taxpayer identification number, that’s usually when you’re talking about international individuals who are coming over and they need a tax number for different tax purposes but they don’t qualify for a social security number. So that’s basically the difference.
- OK, so besides of course US citizens paying taxes do foreign nationals have to pay taxes?
- The majority of foreign nationals will pay taxes, now, there’s two types of taxes: You have your federal taxes and your FICA taxes and FICA taxes is what we call social security and medicare. Now, for international students such as F1 students or J1 students, for the first five years they don’t have to pay social security and medicare or FICA taxes. For your J1-none students, your researchers, your professors, for the first two years they don’t have to pay it either. After that, they do have to pay the FICA taxes but there’s also something called federal taxes. The majority of foreign nationals will have to pay federal taxes unless there is a tax treaty which exempts some of your income.
- OK, are there taxation differences between US citizens and foreign nationals?
- There really isn’t a difference in taxation so if a foreign national doesn’t qualify for a tax treaty they would normally pay the same rate of taxes as a US citizen.
- OK, well going back to the tax treaty, can you tell me a little more about it?
- Sure, a tax treaty basically if there was a tax treaty agreement between the United States and the country in which the foreign national resides prior to coming to the United States. So, it’s not actually based on where you were born, it’s based on where you last resided. It’s, so, usually, within the country there’s usually a tax amount that you can be exempt from so for instance, for some foreign, national, international students it’s usually for a set period of time and there’s a dollar amount, so maybe it’s 5000 dollars, so the first 5000 dollars you’re not taxed on but after that you’d pay taxes. Or, if you’re coming in as maybe a J1 scholar, a J1 research scholar, H1B individual, it could be for like two to three years and you’d be exempt from all your income, so say you made 80000 dollars a year, you wouldn’t have to pay any taxes on that for the first couple of years but it’s very specific to your status in the United States and what country you last resided in.
- OK, just one question: What is an H1B?
- An H1B is for foreign workers who come over and work with their companies so maybe you’re an engineer and want to come over to the United States and work for a couple of years, so it’s employer specific meaning if an H1B petition is done by your company that you want to work with, you can only work at that company and usually it’s for about three years and it can be extended for another three years normally.
- OK. Again, going back to tax treaties. Can you explain to me what publication 901 is?
- Sure, publication 901 can be found on the Internal Revenue Services website www.irs.gov and basically it tells you all the countries and all the potential tax treaties and the specific countries, tax amounts, how many years, and of the different caviats, who can have it or who can not have a tax treaty.
- OK, can you explain to me what ‘equal opportunity’ means?
- Equal opportunity means that everybody has the same playing field meaning that you can’t be discriminated for a job or pay rate change or promotion based on, you know, your gender, your race, your age or any of this type of protected statuses.
- OK. Alright. And Julie, the last question, OK?
- Unfortunately, some people view the human resources office in a negative light and why do you think that is?
- Well, unfortunately for human resources we’re in compliance meaning we have to make sure that we do what the IRS wants us to do, the US Department of Labor and all these different agencies and the majority of the human resources’ job is that we need employees to complete paperwork and sometimes it’s lots of paperwork and sometimes people do not like to complete all that paperwork.
- Right, I know what you mean. OK, Julie thank you so much for your time today, I really appreciate it.
- OK, thank you.