Hindsight is 2020 but preparation is key. In a year full of first impressions, uncertainty, and surprise, it can be difficult to look to the New Year with optimism. Did you know that on January 1, 2021, Florida’s new “Verification of Employment Eligibility” statute will go into effect? Understanding the requirements can be intimidating and stressful, but preparation is the key to complying with Florida’s new requirements.
The E-Verify program was first introduced as a federal program to prohibit employers from hiring an individual for employment knowing that the individual is not authorized to work in the United States. For most employers, using the E-Verify program was voluntary. Instead, employers were required to retain a completed Form I-9 for every person they hired for employment. However, Florida’s new E-Verify law creates a new set of requirements.
On June 30, 2020, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis passed a hybrid version of a mandatory E-Verify law that goes into effect on January 1, 2021. It is important to recognize that this law does not replace the Form I-9. Employers are still required to complete and retain the Form I-9 in either paper or electronic format.
What Does Florida’s New Law Require?
From the outset, it is imperative to understand that there are varying requirements depending on your employer classification. E-Verify is mandatory for all public employers and only certain private employers. E-Verify is optional for all other private employers. Instead, Private Employers are required to retain Form I-9 and the identification documentation used to complete Form I-9.
Public employers include any government agency, including local school districts, public universities, colleges, and state and local agencies, as well as their private contractors. Please remember, all public employers are required to enroll in and use the E-Verify system. No public contract can be entered into without an E-Verify certificate. Any subcontractor working on a public contract must provide an affidavit stating that the subcontractor does not employ, contract, or subcontract with unauthorized aliens.
Private employers are any non-governmental businesses that (1) do not have a contract with a public employer, and (2) do not apply for taxpayer-funded incentives through the state Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”). Private employers are not required to use the E-Verify system. Instead, Private Employers must retain Form I-9 and maintain copies of the identification documents used to complete Form I-9 for all active employees and three years after the date of hire for any former employees.
Tips on Managing E-Verify and Form I-9 Requirements
Preparation is key. Therefore, it is recommended that you train managers and human resources staff on the work authorization process, clearly communicate to new hires their responsibilities related to confirming their work authorization, and securely store I-9s and ID documents appropriately for the required retention period.
If you need any assistance navigating Florida’s New Mandatory Employment Eligibility Requirements, please contact an MBA Consultant today at 1-888-622-6460.
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