For the first time in many years, the I-9 form has received substantive changes to both content and layout. The United States Department of Homeland Security announced that a new I-9 Form is available for immediate use by employers.
Am I required to fill out I-9 forms for my employees?
All employers are required to fill out I-9 forms regardless of their size or industry.
Are there any exceptions for small employers or specific industries?
No. All employers are required to complete I-9 forms for all employees.
Where can I locate the new I-9 forms?
New I-9 forms can be found here along with information regarding the forms and changes.
Do we have to use the new I-9 Form?
While all employers may use the new I-9 forms immediately, they are not required to do so until May 7, 2013. As of May 7, 2013, employers who fail to use the new forms may be subject to civil money penalties.
What are the main changes?
While none of the changes will cause major change in an employer's current policies or practices, the new I-9 Form has been expanded from one page to two pages and includes expanded instructions. In addition, the new form includes fields for an e-mail address, phone number, and foreign passport in Section 1.
What should I do if I haven't filled out I-9 forms for my employees, or if we have kept I-9s but have not completed them correctly?
If your company has not complied with I-9 requirements, you should immediately consult with your attorney to determine the best way to come into compliance and implement compliant policies for future compliance.
Should I copy an employee's identification?
The I-9 instructions do not mandate that an employer should or should not keep copies of an employee's identification. However, an employer should make sure that it implements a uniform policy. In other words, if an employer wishes to keep copies of employee documents, then it should keep copies of employee documents for all employees, not just some employees.
How long do I need to retain copies of I-9 forms?
Employers must retain copies of I-9 forms for either three years, or one year after termination of the employee, whichever is longest. In other words, if you have an employee who works for you for one year, you must keep the I-9 for at least three total years. But if you have an employee who works for you for ten years, you must keep the I-9 for eleven years (one year after termination of the employee).
What are the penalties if I fail to keep I-9s?
Employers may be subject to a variety of fines and penalties if they fail to correctly fill out and keep I-9 forms. These fines and penalties ranges from $110.00 to $13,500.00 depending on the type of violation, whether the employer is a repeat offender, and other factors.
Moving forward, employers should:
- Review their current policies relating to I-9 forms to ensure that are implemented in a uniform and non-discriminatory manner;
- Begin using the new I-9 forms immediately; and
- Should consult with an attorney if the employer finds non-compliant practices in past practices to ensure future compliance.
Please contact us if you have questions or concerns regarding the foregoing matters.