Why Is It Important to Have a Timely I-9?

One of the critical steps in the onboarding process is ensuring there’s a Form I-9 completed on every employee. Without an I-9, compliance issues can arise quickly, and that can come with a range of ramifications. Here’s a closer look at what an I-9 is, what purpose an I-9 serves, and why having a timely one is essential.

What Is an I-9, and What Is the Document’s Purpose?

Form I-9 is a critical legal document that serves a specific purpose: ensuring a new hire is who they say they are and is eligible for employment. Completing the I-9 and ensuring its accuracy is required by law as outlined in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Generally, the I-9 is relatively straightforward. New hires complete the first section of the form, entering their name, address, birth date, and similar personally identifiable information (PII). Additionally, there’s an attestation section employees need to complete where they essentially assert their eligibility to work in the United States, followed by a space for their signature and the current date.

Section two is completed by the employer. The new hire must provide suitable identification, which the company then reviews for validity and authenticity before recording pertinent details about the IDs used. Finally, the employee representing the organization completes an attestation regarding the review of the documents before signing, dating, and providing some details about the company.

Companies don’t need to complete section three except when reverification is necessary or rehiring occurs. Some triggering situations can include the expiration of previously recorded work eligibility, a legal name change, or the aforementioned rehiring.

Why Getting an I-9 in a Timely Manner Matters

There are strict rules regarding when new hires need to complete Form I-9 and when the related identification verifications by the employer must occur. Generally, companies have no more than three business days after the employee’s first day of paid work to ensure the document is complete and that their IDs were verified by an appropriate company representative.

In a world where automation is increasingly used in the onboarding process, ensuring I-9s are handled feels inconvenient. There’s no automated process for I-9 verifications, as the viewing and physical handling of the provided identification is required as part of the completion procedure.

Failing to complete I-9s for all new hires comes with severe financial penalties. Inaccuracies can also lead to fines, as well as failing to maintain the documents for the mandated period. Similarly, not following up on work eligibility expirations when they apply – which triggers the need for an updated I-9 – also leads to compliance issues which can come with fines.

As a result, companies need a process for ensuring Form I-9 compliance. Often, that means establishing the manual procedure. However, coupling it with the right onboarding technology can help, as it assists with completion tracking and can alert the proper representatives when reverification is required.

If you want an onboarding solution that can assist with I-9 compliance, all while streamlining the onboarding process, Essium can help. Contact us to learn more about our modern onboarding solutions and how they can help your staffing firm.