Your Compliance Plan 2021: Form I-9 is Most at Risk
If you’re charged with the process of creating your company’s Q1 2021 Compliance Plan? You are no doubt more than aware of the definition of ‘corporate compliance’.
It can be summed up as a company and its employees following laws, rules, and regulations, as well as adhering to industry standards and guidelines. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, lawsuits, or worse.
Be it onsite or remote, new employees might have some lingering doubts, or nerves. A lack of communication during the “pre-boarding” period — that critical time between signing the offer and first day on the job — can derail the excitement. In fact, 28% of new hires quit within the first three months. And it can largely be traced to a lack of emotional investment in their new employer.
With plenty of laws and rules to follow, HR and Legal teams have a number of critical functions to perform going into its Q1 2021 Compliance Plan:
- Compliance analysis / risk assessment
- Training and education – ensuring all employees are aware of both internal company policies and external federal & state laws
- Implementation & enforcement of policies
- Ongoing auditing, prevention & detection of violations
Avoiding fines from your I-9s
But while violations can occur in any aspect of a voluminous compliance plan, there is one form that tops all others when it comes to government fines: Form I-9.
Keep the lines of communication open throughout the pre-boarding period, continuing to make them feel welcome and engaged, even before their first day.
Simply put, an I-9 must be completed for every new employee, verifying that they are legally eligible to work in the U.S. But that’s where the “simple” part ends. Immigration compliance is a complex affair.
With more than 1200 rules and regulations, combined with increased government scrutiny, a company’s odds of being I-9 audited in the next decade are no less than 95%. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 audits are up almost 400% in the last two years.
Both employer and employee must fill out the form, and violations can lead to fines for your company starting in the hundreds, up to tens of thousands of dollars for repeat, multiple and serious offences. The total amount in I-9 violation employer fines in 2019? $14 million.
Why is the I-9 such a landmine for fines? Let us count the ways:
Common Form I-9 missteps
- Incomplete or incorrect sections: Missed signatures, dates or checkboxes, or false/fraudulent/incorrect information
- Failure to provide, verify, and store supporting documents
- Failure to confirm supporting documents are not expired (on an ongoing basis)
- Missed filing deadlines: The employee section of a Form I-9 must be completed by end of the first day on the job; employer verification and completion within 3 business days
- Form retention errors: A company must retain I-9 forms for a certain time period following termination, then must dispose of them
Issues such as these can arise for a number of reasons, including untrained staff supervising the forms, failure to perform proper internal audits to catch missteps along the way, and simply trying to track the onerous amount of paperwork involved.
What’s your best I-9 compliance solution?
One important decision can solve all of these problems: Investing in an elite Form I-9 software solution. Industry-leading software (such as Tracker I-9 Compliance) turns the reams of difficult-to-manage paperwork into a clean digital solution, with ongoing electronic management to ensure compliance.
Remember that $14 million in I-9 violation fines handed out last year? One group of software users never had to pay a dime: Tracker I-9 Compliance is the only end-to-end solution with a perfect 20-year track record of zero client fines.
With easy API integration with any existing HR platform, superior security, and complete audit protection, a solution like this is an investment companies can’t afford not to make.