By Lynn Connor | Thursday August 27, 2020
ICE announced it would extend it’s Form I-9 flexibility rules that were granted in March, for another 30 days. September 19th is now the expiration date.
In March, the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) said that it would defer the physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 for employers and workplaces that were operating remotely. However, if employees are present at a work location, exceptions are not allowed to the in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility verification.
Employers who choose to inspect section 2 documents remotely (over video, link, fax or email) must still obtain, inspect and retain copies of the documents within 3 business days to complete this section.
Companies who do take advantage of this option in handling the Form I-9 must provide written documents of their firm’s remote work policy for each employee. And when back in the office, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification have to report to their employer within 3 business days for a physical review of their documents and identity.
Also note that employers have to enter “Covid-19” as the reason for the in-person inspection delay in the additional information section, once the physical inspection takes place as normal operations resume. Also, employers are to note “documents physically examined” with the review date in the same section, or to section 3 as appropriate. This in person completed date would be used as a starting point for these employees only, if audited.
Again, this provision applies to workplaces that are operating remotely and if employees are physically in the office, no exception is allowed for the in-person verification required for Form I-9. The DHS will review on a case-by-case basis if a quarantine or lockdown is required. Another available option for employers is to select an authorized representative to act on their behalf to complete section 2, but please note the employer is liable for any violations related to Form I-9 or the verification process.
Employers should review both the DHS and ICE website to find additional updates regarding Form I-9 as the extension date draws closer or when normal operations resume. ICE announces another extension to I-9 compliance flexibility.
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Having your federally required I-9 and W-4 Forms in an electronic, versus a paper format, is a game changer. COATS integrated electronic onboarding also offers an electronic state form, the 8850 WOTC Form and up to 5 forms your firm specifically uses to onboard your employees. For example, a criminal background check, an arbitration agreement, attendance policy and safety guidelines.
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