Under federal law, all employers are required to verify the identity and eligibility to work in the US of all new hires, whether or not they are citizens. As part of this process they are required to fill out Form I-9, which includes examining at least two forms of identification as listed on the form. Not having the I-9 can turn your legitimate workman’s comp claim into a nightmare.
Fortunately the government just launched a website the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ I-9 Central www.uscis.gov/I-9central to help you get through the I-9 process easily and keep your workman’s compensation claim and other employee based interactions with the government free and clear.
USCIS’s I-9 Central was launched to help employers properly fill out Form I-9, also known as the employment eligibility verification form. The site has an improved, user-friendly website to help employers better understand the Form I-9 process.
Keep these forms for three years after the date of the hire or one year after the date the individual’s employment is terminated, whichever is later. Companies that fail to properly complete, retain or make available for inspection Forms I-9 as required by law can be fined.
Penalties for companies that fail to comply with Form I-9 requirements face fines of between $110 and $1,100 per offense. Penalties for more serious infractions, such as hiring people knowing they are not authorized to work in the U.S., can range from $375 to $3,200 per worker for document fraud in the first offense to a maximum of $6,500 for the third offense. Talk about not lowering your workman’s compensation costs! So make sure you get those forms in.
USCIS reminds employers that when completing the form that they should ensure that:
- The information on the form is clear and can be read.
- The date entered in Section 2 as the date the employee began work for pay matches the date in the payroll records.
- Highlighting marks, hole punches and staples do not interfere with an authorized official’s ability to read the information on the form.
- Copies of the documentation retained with Form I-9 are legible, if copies of documentation are made.
- Abbreviations will be understood if the forms are inspected. Unless an abbreviation is widely known, don’t use it.
- All applicable sections of the form are completed.
- The current version of the Form I-9 is used. It can be found here: www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf
- The English version of the form is completed, unless the form is being filled in Puerto Rico, where the Spanish version can be used.
The new website follows the launch of another USCIS service known as E-Verify Self Check. This program allows workers and job seekers in the US to check their own employment eligibility status online.
The service also updated its “Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274)” earlier this year. It can be found here: www.uscis.gov/files/form/m-274.pdf
Thanks for reading and let’s get the paperwork done up front so a simple workers compensation claim doesn’t turn into a major problem for you and your worker. Like I said at the top he’s already hurt right?
Portions of this article originated with Nils Wright and were used with permission.