Many employers have chosen dates in the fall for their official office reopenings and have spent many months considering all the complicated factors involved in the post-pandemic workplace.
One time-sensitive topic that may have been overlooked is Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification compliance in the context of office reopening.
While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has allowed some flexibility for U.S. employers over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the relaxed rules will no longer apply once employees are routinely and predictably in the office. Without this flexibility, employers must act quickly to (1) update I-9s completed during the pandemic pursuant to ICE’s flexible rules, and (2) put in place or refresh protocols for I-9 completion and maintenance in a workplace that is always changing with shifting post-pandemic norms.
The issuance of post-pandemic I-9 compliance is time sensitive and the failure to act timely will result in higher risk of fines during an investigation. For many employers, this will be a time-consuming and overwhelming task in light of the moving parts and other elements of office reopening. As a result, planning now to ensure I-9 compliance is an absolute necessity.
In this article, we will provide an overview of I-9 requirements and ICE’s I-9 flexibility relating to COVID-19, and propose five steps that all employers should take in advance of office reopening.
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* Original article published in Law360.