As of May 10, 2023, Florida has expanded a 2020 law concerning E-Verify. According to the expansion bill, Florida will require contractors and public employers to use the government’s internet-based system for verifying employment eligibility (Form I-9). As a result, private employers with 25 or more employees must begin using E-Verify starting July 1, 2023. This law will not apply to independent contractors or employees hired before this date.
In addition, the expanded law has addressed exceptions. For example, it would not require employee leasing companies licensed under part XI of Chapter 468 to verify the employment eligibility of any new employees for its client company. This example stressed the importance of “a written agreement or understanding with a client company which places the primary obligation for compliance with this section upon the client company.”
The bill also clarified the responsibility in the absence of a written agreement or understanding. According to the law, “the employee leasing company is responsible for compliance with this section. Such employee leasing company shall, at all times, remain an employer as otherwise defined in federal laws or regulations.”
What This Means for Employers
Once the law goes into effect, employers must verify employees through E-Verify within three days of the employee’s start date. However, employers may encounter times when the system is down. Such cases require employers to fill out Form I-9s and retain the proof of the unavailable system for each day the employer could not access it.
Employers mandated to use E-Verify must also “certify on its first return each calendar year to the tax service provider that it is in compliance with this section when making contributions to or reimbursing the state’s unemployment compensation or reemployment assistance system.” In addition, employers voluntarily using the system may also make this certification on their first return each calendar year.
This law requires employers to retain a copy of the E-Verify documentation for every new employee for at least three years. Failure to comply with the new requirements could lead to business license suspensions. In addition, they may face $1,000 fines each day until they prove compliance.
With the governor’s signature, the state will enforce this regulation starting July 1, 2024. This timeline allows employers to prepare their workplace policies to comply with the new law. One of the best ways to ensure compliance with the new law is to use electronic I-9 management software with E-Verify integration. This system will guide employers through the process. It also offers safe and secure storage of the forms and accompanying documentation. Contact JDP for a demo of their top I-9 Compliance software solution.