Employers use the form I-9 to verify the identity and legal authorization to work of all paid employees in the United States. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to properly and timely complete the I-9, and significant liability can result from getting it wrong. We address some common form I-9 compliance challenges below.
Timeliness. Employees must complete Section 1 of the I-9 no later than their first day of work. Employers must complete the Section 2 verification no later than the third business day after the employee begins work for pay. The day of hire is not “day 1,” so if an employee is hired on Monday, employers must complete Section 2 by Thursday. Employers must give employees the full amount of time to provide documents, without preventing them from working during the three-day window. A problem may arise in this area if you require new employees to “on board” too far in advance, so be careful.
Remote Workers. Qualified employers may use a remote verification process (for more details, see our July 24, 2023, blog post). Alternatively, employers may have an agent complete the verification on their behalf, although California limits the use of notaries to those registered with the California Secretary of State’s office and bonded as an immigration consultant.
Verification Documents. Knowing which documents to accept as verification of eligibility can be tricky. Employers should not require (or accept) more documents than required by law and should ensure that all documentation is unexpired. They also should not reject documents that “appear to be genuine” and “reasonably relate” to the person presenting them. Even if using the remote verification process, employers need to verify that the person presenting the documents appears to be the person identified in the documents.
The Form I-9 has numerous requirements and it can be difficult to get it right – particularly as the rules keep changing! We’re here to help – join us on April 9, 2024, for our “Best Practices for Form I-9 Compliance” webinar. For more details and to register, click here.