Form I-9 Requirements
Effective Aug. 1, 2018, an assessment of $1,000 will be charged to departments for each instance when a new employee does not complete the Form I-9 on or before the first day of work. Any assessments will be charged quarterly to the appropriate vice president or dean.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires all employers, including the university, to certify employment eligibility through the use of Form I-9. New employees are encouraged to visit Human Resources as soon as possible after acceptance of an official job offer (following notification of successful completion of a background check, if applicable), but no later than the first day of employment. Alternative arrangements for off-site locations are available.
In 1986, Congress reformed U.S. immigration law. The law requires that Form I-9 be completed for any person hired to perform labor or services in return for wages or other remuneration. Remuneration is anything of value given in exchange for labor or services, including food and lodging.
The federal office tasked with monitoring compliance with the I-9 requirements has evolved through the years, but now rests with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Federal law requires that employers and employees complete the I-9 to ensure that new hires are lawfully entitled to work in the U.S. Penalties for a missing or incorrectly completed I-9 can be as high as $2,165 for each error or omission (as of August 2016).
Since 1986, the university has attempted to comply with the I-9 requirements. The university routinely sends notices to supervisors regarding non-compliance and will continue to do so. These notices – along with supervisor training – have improved our compliance rate but they have failed to provide the education or motivation necessary for total compliance.
To comply with the law and avoid the new $1,000 departmental assessment, all new employees must report to the Human Resources office in Moscow (or to the designated office at off-site locations) on or before their first day of work. Employees must complete the I-9 at that time, along with other onboarding activities.
Section 1 of the I-9 must be completed on or before the first day of work. Section 2 of the form, which requires presentation of identity and eligibility documents, must be completed within three days. Employees are required to provide original documents – such as passport, driver’s license, or Social Security card – for the purpose of establishing identity and employment authorization. Employees must present these documents in person and Human Resources must review the documents in the physical presence of the employees.
Failure to complete Section 1 on the first day of work, or failure to complete Section 2 within three days of the first day of work, will result in non-compliance and will trigger the notice from Human Resources and the new departmental assessment.
If a completed I-9 is not on file with Human Resources by the close of the third business day after the employee begins work, the supervisor will be notified by Human Resources. At that time, the hiring administrator must inform the employee that employment has been suspended.
The requirement for I-9 completion applies to all employees, including student workers, temporary employees, part-time employees, full-time employees, post-doctoral fellows, coaches, faculty members (regardless of rank or status), benefited employees, partially benefited employees and non-benefited employees. Whether an employee will work one hour per year or the full 2,080 hours is of no consequence — all employees must complete the I-9. The funding source supporting the employee is of no consequence — all employees must complete the I-9.
The first day of work is the day the employee is required or allowed to begin fulfilling their employment responsibilities to the university. This includes any orientation, training or other work-related attendance as a precursor to beginning the actual intended job duties.
Volunteers and independent contractors are not required to complete an I-9 as they are not employees. However, because the federal rules and definitions are confusing and difficult to administer, departments often misclassify employees as independent contractors. As a result, whenever you engage an individual to do work for the university, you should always consult with your Human Resources business partner to ensure you are using the correct status.
One of the most common problems with “volunteer” status is that we cannot allow employees to volunteer for tasks that they are – or will be – paid to perform. Such action is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The result of this misunderstanding is that an employee’s first day of work is actually the day the department/supervisor allowed them to begin as a volunteer. This is sometimes not discovered for weeks after the fact, at which point a violation of the I-9 requirement may have occurred.
Because it is not practical for off-site employees to travel to Moscow on their first day at work, Human Resources has identified I-9 representatives at all remote sites. A list of I-9 representatives is available on the university website or by contacting Human Resources at 208-885-3638.