Form I-9 is a required part of the hiring process to verify legal employment eligibility. Employers must request the legal identification listed on the form, examine documents presented and attest to the fact that they did so. While it seems like a straight forward process, Form I-9 is backed by rules and regulations that fill the 69-page M-274 Handbook for Employers. Employers can rely on their HRIS to help them stay in compliance with correct completion and storage of the I-9 forms.
What is Form I-9?
In the United States, employers are required to complete Form I-9 and keep it on file for every employee. The form is used to document legal employment eligibility, with sections for both employee and employer to complete. Employees attest to their employment eligibility and present legal identification and employment eligibility documents and employers attest to examining the documents presented for authenticity. Applicants have a choice of identification to present, including items like driver’s license, certified birth certificate, passport, and state-issued identification card. I-9 forms must remain on file for three years from the date of hire or one year after the employee terminates, whichever is longer, and employers must make forms available to government officials upon request.
Penalties and fines are the consequences of I-9 errors, starting at $110 dollars per error if the Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or Homeland Security finds a company out of compliance with I-9 requirements.
Manage Form I-9 Compliance Mistakes with HRIS
Failure to Re-verify
Employers must track and update employee supporting I-9 documentation, such as work-authorized aliens with documents that have an expiration date. Since manually tracking expiration dates is time-consuming and highly prone to human error, employers need a way to automate the process and stay in compliance.
The reporting feature in an HRIS can be used to run a monthly report for upcoming expirations for I-9 documentation. Some HRIS technology has the ability to show a dashboard with alerts as well. Businesses should assign someone to manage the review process and follow up with employees on expiring documents to ensure I-9 compliance.
Not Following the Three-Day Rule
USCIS rules require employers to have completed I-9 forms within three business days of the employee’s first day of work. It is important to pay attention to this deadline to stay in compliance. Employers can use the workflows feature in an HRIS system to notify and remind responsible parties to finalize I-9 verifications by the third working day.
Incorrect or Missing Forms
Common I-9 mistakes include missing signatures, transposed numbers, incomplete sections and incorrect dates. Transposing document numbers and dates is an easy error to make when busy or working under deadlines. If there’s not a well-documented procedure with double checking built in, there may be errors, or the entire I-9 might be overlooked or lost.
An error in writing in an employee’s social security number can have serious consequences for payroll, taxes, and other government compliance if not caught early and corrected immediately. Adding a review process to the Workflow in an HRIS can allow a second set of eyes to verify the accuracy of the form.
Paperless I-9 Management
Various HRIS programs automate paperless I-9 processes to eliminate the possibility of manual errors that cause noncompliance. I-9 management through HRIS utilizes features such as workflows to track and report sensitive I-9 issues and provides E-signatures so there’s no need for paper files.