Understanding the Importance of Form I-9 Compliance

In 2021, employment statistics highlighted an impressive 57.3% turnover rate across various industries. What implications does this hold for both employers and their workforce? Simply put, the process of bringing new employees on board is an ongoing task. With such a significant influx of fresh recruits, there’s often confusion about who should ensure adherence to Form I-9 compliance.

Navigating the dynamics of certain unique employment relationships, like when a person is employed under a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), can be challenging. However, the basics surrounding Form I-9 compliance are quite clear.

This guide aims to clarify the essence and importance of Form I-9 compliance.

Understanding the Role of Form I-9

Form I-9, governed by the Dept of Homeland Security, is an official document designed by USCIS to confirm employment eligibility. Its main purpose is to validate the identity and work status of every hired individual in the U.S. It’s mandatory for all U.S. employers to complete this form for every new recruit, irrespective of their citizenship status or work visa type.

Who Should Ensure Form I-9 Compliance?

In standard scenarios, the onus of ensuring Form I-9 compliance rests squarely on the employer. They are obligated to adhere to and submit Form I-9 as mandated by U.S. laws.

PEO Employment and Form I-9

The waters can get murky when an individual is co-employed by a PEO. Nonetheless, the foundational responsibility remains unchanged. If you’re the employer and an employee is associated with both you and a PEO, both entities must meet Form I-9 stipulations. Failure to comply can result in penalties for either or both parties.

The Process of Completing Form I-9

Although employers bear the ultimate accountability, both the hiring entity and the recruit are involved in completing Form I-9. The hired individual must confirm their work status and present evidence of their identity and work eligibility.

The Consequences of Overlooking Form I-9

It’s imperative for employers to ensure the completion of Form I-9 within three days of recruiting a new employee. Any lapses or inaccuracies can lead to fines. For long-term employees, recalling the completion of such a form during the hiring process can be challenging. But more often than not, it’s likely been done amidst the various other onboarding procedures.

Form I-9 might seem like a routine paperwork task for employees, often involving just the submission of identification like a passport or social security card. However, for businesses, it’s vital. Mishandling, losing, or inaccurately filling out the form can result in penalties ranging from $110 to more than $1000 for each individual, even on the first offense.

To emphasize its significance, in 2014, a renowned IT staffing firm, Infosys, agreed to a whopping $34 million fine due to acknowledged I-9 discrepancies. Another company faced a $40,000 fine even though all their employees were authorized to work; the employer simply couldn’t locate their I-9 documents.

EMP Trust: Your Compliance Partner

Avoid the pitfalls of noncompliance with EMP Trust’s robust HR solutions. From electronic Form I-9s to remote verification, our tools ensure you’re always compliant and shielded from unnecessary fines.


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