As it takes the entire world by storm, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep like an ominous tidal wave across the United States. As businesses scramble to stay safe, compliant, and financially solvent, updates, and guidelines change by the hour. You can turn to the expert team at Chane Solutions to help you keep up.
New Flexibility for Remote Workers
One key development that took effect on March 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) eased the physical presence requirements associated with its Employee Eligibility Verification Form I-9, as it applies to individuals who are now working remotely.
Also, under this ruling, if you were served an NOI by DHS during March, you have an extension of 60 days from its effective date to respond. At the end of this period, DHS will reevaluate to see if an additional extension will be granted.
Key Points to Remember
Details on the DHS’s flexibility regarding Form I-9 can be found on the department’s website. Here are some key points to have handy:
- This easing of restrictions applies only to remote workers. However, cases of new hires or existing employees who are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or lockdown will be evaluated by DHS on a case-by-case basis.
- You may inspect remote employees’ identity and employment authorization documents virtually when completing I-9 Section 2 or when completing Section 3 for verification purposes. Once your normal business operations resume, you will need to inspect these documents physically.
- These guidelines are not mandatory. They will remain in effect for 60 days or until a national emergency has been declared over.
- You must retain copies of any documents you inspect remotely.
- Regular timelines remain in effect: Section 1 of Form I-9 must be completed by an employee’s start date, and Section 2 must be completed within three business days of hire.
- “COVID-19” must be entered as the reason for your physical inspection delay in the additional informational field of Section 2 or 3.
- You may designate an authorized representative to act on your behalf in completing Form I-9 at this time. This representative must physically examine an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. This representative can be anyone you designate, such as a family member or friend. No formal agreement is necessary. Be aware that you are liable for any violations made by the authorized representative.
Now more than ever, let Chane Solutions be your trusted source for your pre-employment screenings, resources, and needs. Turn to us for guidance and updates even as the COVID-19 situation rapidly evolves. We’ll ensure that you maintain your safe, healthy workplace while minimizing costs, mitigating risk, and staying fully compliant. Be well today and every day!