U.S. Employers Prepare To Comply With Employment Eligibility Form Updates
Employment rules and regulations are under close scrutiny here in the U.S., particularly when it relates to I-9 compliance. Therefore, as an employer, it’s incredibly important to stay on top of these changes and to ensure that your organization continues to comply with all government mandates.
On May 1, 2020, the new I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form will officially go into effect. This vital document effectively makes a few minor, but mandatory changes for all U.S. employers. Specifically, the newly updated Form I-9, updates the names of two countries (Somalia and Yemen), clarifies acceptable documentation, and updates privacy to the electronic form.
Read Also: Don’t Wait For An I-9 Audit
What Employers Should Know About Completing Form I-9
Up until April 30, 2020, employers will have the option to choose whether they use the previous edition of the I-9 Form, which is dated Aug. 17, 2017, or the new version of the form. Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) publishes a paper I-9 Form that has no changes from the previous version and an electronic version that will display the most recent updates.
Remember, all U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each person they hire for employment in the U.S., including citizens and noncitizens. To successfully comply with these particular government regulations, employers must:
- Complete I-9’s for all individuals hired on or before Nov. 6, 1986.
- Complete Section 1 of Form I-9 by the employee’s first day of work. The employer must complete Section 2 of Form I-9 by the end of the employee’s third business day, or within 72 hours after employment commences.
- Retain I-9 forms for terminated employees per retention guidelines.
For employers completing the new online version of the form, you will notice minor changes, including:
- Clarifications pertaining to acceptable documents. (Writing “N/A” in the identity document columns is no longer necessary);
- Clarifies “List C” documents, which are documents that only establish employment authorization. According to the USCIS website, employees who present a “List C” document must also provide a document from “List B,” which is a document that establishes identity, such as a driver’s license, voter registration card, etc.
Why Should Employers Be Focused On I-9 Compliance?
Penalties for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ illegal workers and/or incorrect I-9 Forms can result in fees ranging from $305 to $16,000 or more, per violation. For repeat offenders, penalties usually amount to larger fines.
Increased enforcement of HR policies and I-9 compliance, can be the critical step needed to avoid accumulating and having to pay penalties to the government. Maintaining a culture of best practices and compliance should be top priority.
The Rea & Associates’ HR consulting services team is qualified to complete a comprehensive review of your I-9 process to ensure compliance. To learn more about this service or other compliance review services, including documentation of re-hires, retention schedules, terminated employees and more, email the Rea HR consulting services team today.
By Renee West, SHRM-SCP, PHR (New Philadelphia office)