Sep 232017
 

What is it?

Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) requirements stem from the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This act prohibits employers from hiring and employing an individual for employment in the U.S. knowing that the individual is not authorized with respect to such employment. Employers are also prohibited from continuing to employ an individual knowing that he or she is unauthorized for  employment. This law also prohibits employers from hiring any individual, including a U.S. citizen, for employment in the U.S. without verifying his or her identity and employment authorization on Form I-9.

Who must fill out the form?

Employers are required to complete and retain a form I-9 for every employee they hire for employment in the United States, except for:

  • Individuals hired on or before November 6, 1986 who are continuing in their employment
  • Individuals employed for casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic, irregular, or intermittent basis
  • Independent contractors or individuals providing labor to you if they are employed by a contractor providing contract services (for example, employee leasing or temporary agencies)
  • Individuals not physically working in the U.S.

Federal law prohibits individuals or businesses from contracting with an independent contractor knowing that the independent contractor is not authorized to work in the U.S.

The process

The I-9 form consists of three sections:

  • Section One: Employee information and attestation (completed by employee)
  • Section Two: Employer review and verification (completed by employer or authorized representative)
  • Section Three: Reverification and Rehires (completed by employers for employees who are rehired or whose employment authorization requires reverification)

Section 1

When completing Form I-9, you must make available to your employee the complete instructions to the form and the list of acceptable documents. Your newly hired employee must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than their first day of employment.

You may have your employee complete Form I-9:

  • On their first day of employment for pay
  • Before their first day of hire, if you have offered the individual a job and if they have accepted the offer

Employee responsibilities for Section 1

Employees can have help completing Section 1, including using a translator.

Employees must provide their:

  • Full legal name
    • if the employee has two last names (family names), include both. If the employee has two first names (given names), include both
    • if the employee only has one name, enter it in the Last Name field, then enter “Unknown” in the First Name field
    • If the employee hyphenates his or her first or last names, include the hyphen (-) between the names
    • Include the middle initial, if the employee has a middle name
  • Other names used, if applicable, such as maiden name
  • Current address, including street name and number, city state and ZIP code. Include the apartment number or letter if applicable
  • Date of birth
  • Check mark next to the appropriate box to indicate whether they are a U.S. citizen or noncitizen national, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., or alien authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Alien Number/USCIS Number, Form I-94 admission number, or foreign passport number, including country of issuance
  • Signature and date

Employer responsibilities for Section 1

You must:

  • Review the information your employee provided in Section 1
  • Ensure that your employee provided information in all required fields (note: your employees are not required to provide a Social Security Number in Section 1)
  • Ensure your employee signed and dated the form
  • Ensure the Preparer or Translator section has been completed, signed, and dated if your employee used a preparer or translator

In addition:

  • You should note whether your employee indicated in Section 1 that their employment authorization will expire.
  • You may need to reverify your employee’s authorization when it expires. You may want to remind your employees at least 90 days before the expiration date that they will need to present a List A or List C document to show continued employment authorization for reverification purposes. Employees must present these documents on or before the date their current employment authorization expires.
  • The expiration date for employment authorization provided by your employee in Section 1 may or may not match the expiration date of the List A or List C document your employee presents for Section 2. The earlier date should be used for verification purposes.

Section 2

Employers must complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 within 3 business days of the date of hire of their employee.

Employee responsibilities for Section 2

Employees must present unexpired original documentation that shows the employer their identity and employment authorization. Your employees choose which documentation to present.

Employees must present:

  • One document from List A; or
  • One document from List B in combination with one document from List C

Note:

  • List A contains documents that show both identity and employment authorization
  • List B documents show identity only
  • List C documents show employment authorization only

Employer responsibilities for Section 2

An employer or an authorized representative of the employer completes Section 2. Employers or their authorized representatives must physically examine the documentation presented by the employee and sign the form.

The employer or authorized representative must:

  • Enter the employee’s last name, first name, middle initial, and select the correct citizenship/immigration number in the “Employee Info from Section 1” area at the top of Section 2
  • Ensure that any document your employee presents is original and on the list of acceptable documents, or is an acceptable receipt
  • Physically examine each document to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to your employee presenting it. If you determine the document does not reasonably appear to be genuine or relate to your employee, allow your employee to present other documentation from the List of Acceptable Documents
  • Enter the document title, issuing authority, number, and expiration date from the original documents your employee presented
  • Enter the date your employee began or will begin work for pay
  • Enter the first and last name, signature, and title of the person completing Section 2, as well as the date the Section was completed
  • Enter the employer’s business name and address. If your company has multiple locations, use the most appropriate address, such as where Form I-9 is completed
  • Return the documentation presented back to the employee

Section 3

Employers must complete Section 3 when an employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired.

Employers may complete Section 3 when an employee is rehired within 3 years of the date that the Form I-9 was originally completed, or the employee has had a legal name change.

Employers should not reverify:

  • U.S. citizens and noncitizen nationals
  • Lawful permanent residents who presented a Form I-551, Permanent Resident or Alien Registration Receipt card for Section 2. This includes conditional residents.
  • List B documents

Rehires

If you rehire an employee within 3 years of the date that a previous I-9 form was complete, you may either complete a new Form I-9 for your employee or complete Section 3 of the previous I-9.

To complete Section 3 for rehires, you must:

  • Confirm that the original Form I-9 relates to your employee
  • Review the original Form I-9 to determine if the employee is still authorized to work, including whether employment authorization documentation presented in Section 2 (List A or List C) as since expired.
  • If your employee is still authorized to work, enter the date of rehire in the space provided in Section 3.
  • If the employee is no longer authorized to work or the employment authorization documentation has since expired, request that the employee present an unexpired List A or List C document. Do not reverify an employee’s List B (identity) document. Enter the document information and the date of rehire in the spaces provided in Section 3. If the current version of Form I-9 is different from the previously completed form, you must complete Section 3 on the current version
  • Sign and date Section 3.
 Posted by at 10:19
Oct 032016
 

In every U.S. state except Montana, employment is presumed to be at-will, meaning either the employer or the employee can legally terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, and with or without cause. The employer has not guaranteed employment for a period of time, and the employee has not promised to stay; therefore, either party can end the relationship without financial penalty. There are, however, exceptions and limitations to the at-will relationship, so employers should still be careful when terminating an employee.

A collective bargaining agreement or employment contract, for example, could change the relationship so that it’s no longer at-will. And it’s important to keep in mind that at-will employment does not permit an employer to terminate employment based on the employee exercising a legal right or belonging to a protected class (e.g., race, sex, religion, national origin); such a basis would be illegal and could lead to a discrimination claim.

Consequently, the safest way to terminate an employee is to have documentation that justifies the legitimate business reasons behind the termination. This documentation would include infractions of policy, instances of poor performance, and any disciplinary or corrective action taken. The more an employer can do to show that they gave a terminated employee the chance to improve, the better.

The bottom line is that while at-will employment makes it sound like you can terminate employees at any time, with or without notice, and with or without cause—and to a degree you can—legitimate and documented business reasons are always your best bet.

 Posted by at 12:24
Dec 192015
 

An amendment to Oregon’s previous social media law will go into effect January 1, 2016. It makes it unlawful for employers to do any of the following:

  • Require or request that an employee or an applicant establish or maintain a personal social media account.
  • Require that an employee or applicant authorize the employer to advertise on a personal social media account.
  • Take or threaten to take any adverse action against an employee for refusing to establish or maintain a personal social media account.

As before, employers may not require or request that an employee disclose any personal social media user names or passwords. As before, if employers need to conduct an investigation, they may require an employee to share content that has been reported to the employer and that is necessary for the employer to make a factual determination about the matter under investigation.

 Posted by at 19:21
Dec 192015
 

Beginning January 1, 2016, Oregon employers will be required to provide up to 40 hours of sick time each year, depending on how many hours an employee works. Employers with 10 or more employees (six or more for Portland employers) must offer these hours as paid sick time.

Who Is Covered?
The law applies to most employees—exempt, non-exempt, full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal. However, the law excludes a very small number of categories of employees from coverage: independent contractors, employees who receive paid sick time under federal law, participants in certain work training and work-study programs, certain railroad workers, and individuals employed by their parent, spouse, or child. There is no exception for small employers; organizations with one or more employees will be required to provide sick time.

Accrual
An employee will begin to earn and accrue sick time on the first day of employment or on January 1, 2016, if they are already employed at that time. Sick time must accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee who is exempt from overtime requirements is presumed to work 40 hours in each workweek for the purpose of accrual of sick time unless the actual workweek of the employee is less than 40 hours, in which case sick time accrues based on the actual workweek of the employee.

An employee must be allowed carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the subsequent year. An employer must restore previously accrued unused sick time to an employee who is reemployed by that employer within 180 days of separation.

Use
Employees may take sick leave to care for themselves or a family member. Uses include mental and physical illness, injury or health condition, need for medical diagnosis, care or treatment for a physical or mental illness, injury or health condition, need for preventative medical care, any acceptable use under the Oregon Family Leave Act, to seek legal or medical services if the employee is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or in the case of a public health emergency. Employees are also allowed to donate accrued sick time to another employee if their employer allows it.

Compliance Requirements
Employers must provide written notice of the law’s requirements to each employee. The Bureau of Labor and Industries has provided a poster for this purpose.

Employers should also provide written notification, at least quarterly, to each employee of the amount of accrued and unused sick time that remains available for use. Pay statements may be used to satisfy this notification requirement.

Next Steps
Employers who already have sick time or PTO policies in place should determine if their current policies will meet the requirements of the new law. Employers who do not currently offer sick time should determine how they plan to implement the new requirements. All employers should ensure that they have the appropriate notice and record keeping procedures in place prior to January 1, 2016.

Ask your Time 4 Payroll representative if you need assistance in implementing Sick Leave tracking at your company.

 Posted by at 19:17
Dec 192015
 

Effective January 1, 2016, House Bill 3025 makes it unlawful for an employer to exclude an applicant from an initial interview solely because of a past criminal conviction. Under the new law, an employer cannot require an applicant to disclose a criminal conviction on a job application or otherwise prior to an initial interview or, if no interview is conducted, prior to making a conditional offer of employment. Of course, employers may still consider an applicant’s conviction history when making a hiring decision.

Portland recently passed its own “Ban the Box” rules that will go into effect July 1, 2016. As of that date, most employers in Portland with more than six employees will be required to wait until after making a conditional job offer before asking about a prospective employee’s criminal history. Additionally, the employer may not consider arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction, criminal histories that were expunged, or charges that were dropped because the applicant participated in a diversion program for crimes that didn’t involve physical harm or attempted physical harm.

 Posted by at 19:13
Dec 122013
 

Portland’s Protected Sick Time Ordinance mandates the provision of up to 40 hours of sick leave per year to all employees of at least 90 days and who have worked at least 240 hours in a year within Portland city limits.

Employers with 6 or more employees must provide at least one hour of paid Sick Time for every 30 hours of work performed by the employee within the city.  Employers with 5 or fewer employees must provide a minimum of one hour of unpaid sick time for every 30 hours of work performed within the city.

Employers with existing Sick Leave or PTO policies that meet or exceed the requirements of the Ordinance are deemed in compliance.

Employees may use their sick leave to attend to medical care for themselves or their family members, closure of school or child care provider, domestic violence cases, and for other health reasons.

To be eligible, employees must have worked 240 hours in a year within the City. If a person changes employers or is separated from their employer for more than 6 months, then he/she will need to reestablish eligibility.  Employees may not use Sick Leave during the first 90 days of their employment, though they accrue Sick Leave from the first day of employment in the City.

Employers may require an Employee to provide reasonable notice of an absence for Sick Leave. This means abiding by the Employer’s notification policy.  If there is no such policy in place, it should be implemented prior to the effective date of the Ordinance.

When an employee uses Sick Leave more than 3 consecutive days or the Employer suspects a pattern of abuse of the Sick Leave ordinance, the Employer may request documentation that the Sick Leave is being used for a qualifying absence.  If the employee fails to provide the required documentation, the Employer may deny the use of Sick Time for the absence taken until the Employee provides the documentation.

Employers must provide employees with written notice of their entitlement to Sick Time, conditions for its use, and instructions on how to file a complaint.

Employers must notify each Employee, at least quarterly, of the amount of accrued and unused Sick Time available for use by the Employee.

In addition, employers with employees working any time in Portland must display this poster along with the other required labor posters.  For more details, refer to the final administrative rules provided by the City of Portland.

If you would like Time 4 Payroll to help track Portland Sick Leave accruals, let us know.  A small fee will apply.

 Posted by at 16:29
May 202013
 

Recently, a client asked us if HR documentation can be scanned and originals shredded.  Since we at Time 4 Payroll like to do our part by being as paperless as possible, we thought this was a great question.

Not finding any rules on the IRS, OR BOLI and WA L&I websites, we called BOLI and L&I and were told that the law is “silent” on this issue.  The law requires that employers keep records, but does not specify how those records are to be kept.  Our contact at OR BOLI told us that keeping digital-only files would not likely cause a compliance issue, but may be problematic if there was ever some litigation.  In that situation, you may have to explain why you destroyed original documentation.

That leaves employers to decide what level of risk they are willing to take.  At Time 4 Payroll, security of data is crucial, so we will continue our practice of keeping most data in a secure, digital format.  Nevertheless, keeping a hard copy of certain employee records in a locked filing cabinet might not be a bad idea.

Dec 012012
 
Most businesses need some formal written policies – whether an actual “handbook” or a collection of pages on key topics.  An Employee Handbook is a type of preventive medicine, and can also serve as a good business planning tool.  There are lots of good reasons to have written policies, but here are the “top” seven, in no particular order:
  1. Written policies, consistently enforced, can help avoid legal disputes down the road.  A well drafted and enforced handbook can ward off accusations of favoritism; provide clear guidance on the company’s position against discrimination/retaliation/harassment and provide information on how to report any violations.
  2. A handbook or other written policies are also a good way to communicate information the business is legally obligated to provide anyway.
  3. A handbook will help you and your managerial staff save time.  Formal policies help cut down on answering the same questions over and over again.  For instance:  How much vacation do I get?  Can I enroll my dependents on the health plan?
  4. It is a way to document expectations and obligations of management and staff.
  5. Written policies create uniformity and help prevent disputes.
  6. Spending time thinking about the messages you want the employees to have regarding your business, and distributing those messages can improve leadership, and help keep the business on track with its mission.
  7. A handbook is a way to think through and communicate the company’s disaster readiness plan.  In light of the recent natural disasters, not to mention man-made disasters, this can be extremely important in protecting the company and its employees.

What is a good time to start?  The ideal time is before you hire your first employee.  Failing that, the sooner the better!  Keep in mind that an Employee Handbook is a living document.  You’ll probably want to make policy changes and benefit updates once a year or so.  After each update, you’ll distribute updated copies of the document to each employee and obtain a signed acknowledgement, so any employee claim of not being informed of company policies can easily be refuted.

Don’t know where to start?  We can help.  If you want to do it yourself, we provide a free template to our clients.  If you need hands-on help, we can refer you to an HR consultant to assist you, or even do it all for you.

Let us know how we can help.

 Posted by at 07:32