New Law Allows Electronic Signatures on Form I-9 Streamlining New Hire Processes for HR Departments

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i9Check's I-9 form solution enables HR departments to utilize electronic signatures and storage with their new hire processes. The software helps companies effectively comply with I-9 employment eligibility regulations.

On October 30, 2004, President Bush signed H.R. 4306 into law allowing electronic signatures and storage for I-9 forms. As a result, dramatic changes are underway which will significantly streamline the I-9 form completion process for Human Resources departments across the country. Now, companies can completely computerize their I-9 form processes using i9Check I-9 software to ameliorate many of the problems associated with manual completion of the I-9 form.

The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act requires all U.S. employers to verify the employment authorization of all employees hired after November 6, 1986. Employers must maintain and update I-9 forms for each employee and be ready to present them quickly to a Department of Homeland Security or Department of Labor agent in the event of an audit. An employer who fails to have the I-9 form properly completed risks being significantly fined for noncompliance. Fines for simple paperwork violations range from $110.00 - $1,100.00 per form to $275.00 - $11,000.00 for the employment of an unauthorized worker. Deficient I-9 form preparation could potentially subject a company to tens of thousands of dollars in penalties.

i9Check software simplifies the process by guiding users to proper completion of the I-9 form. Employers can avoid potential liability caused by negligent, ignorant, or even discriminatory behavior. As a web-based product, i9Check software is accessible anywhere—a huge benefit for companies allowing uniform completion among numerous branch offices around the U.S.

Problems associated with re-verifying workers on temporary work authorization will be greatly minimized. By automating the I-9 process, HR departments can effectively track work expiration dates and have reminders to submit proof of renewed authorization regularly emailed to affected employees.

i9Check software provides customized reports so HR managers can instantly obtain important information about their workforce. Reports can provide information concerning hiring rates at different worksites or clusters of worksites across the country. They can also provide a glimpse into the number of ex-employees rehired.

The new law also permits the electronic storage of I-9 forms. I-9 forms may be stored as PDF files, a universal format most computer users are familiar with. The PDF format effectively maintains the integrity and appearance of regular paper forms as well as allows for easy searching and retrieval of I-9 forms for specific individuals. It will also simplify the rehiring process-- companies who rehire seasonal workers can easily call up and utilize previously completed I-9 forms.

The passage of H.R. 4306 offers exciting opportunities for companies to get a grip on properly managing their I-9 forms. Automating the process with i9Check software promotes uniform and accurate completion of the I-9 form; it trains inexperienced HR staff, and can significantly assist with complying with the I-9 regulations thereby decreasing liability and minimizing discriminatory conduct. A once tedious but necessary task can now be cost-effectively managed with i9Check.

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Bill Lin
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