I-9 Changes Take Effect May 1, 2020 – Rea CPA

I-9 Changes Take Effect May 1, 2020

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)

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Disclaimer: The HR Consulting services are based on the best knowledge
of non-attorney specialists at Rea & Associates, Inc. Rea does not
provide legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with legal counsel
of your choice prior to implementing policies or procedures.