By Kristen Wakulchuk


Have you been forced to furlough or lay off employees during the Covid-19 pandemic? And now, as this crisis runs its course, are you wondering about the proper steps to take when reinstating employees? To avoid being caught off guard as things return to normal, there are some key points to keep in mind. 

Did you secure a PPP loan?

The Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP), designed to help companies keep people employed and stay afloat during the pandemic, ran out of funds 13 days after its launch. The US Senate offered a lifeline by funneling $310 billion into an emergency grant and loan program to help fill the gap. 

  • If you secured a PPP loanit may be forgiven up to 100 percent. Funds can be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, and pay for rent and utilities. For many small businesses, PPP support means bringing people back, either physically if your company is essential, or remotely with employees continuing to shelter at home. There is an incentive for you to hire employees back by June 30, with forgiveness based on the steps you take. 

What about Form I-9 at this time?

If you rehire an employee within three years of the date their Form I-9 was originally completed, you have options: you can either rely on that form or have a new one completed. An upfront reminder: As of May 1, you can only use the October 21, 2019 version of Form I-9, which expires October 21, 2022. Also: 

  • Individuals whose employment status is unchanged from their previous form do not need to provide additional documentation. Simply provide their rehire date and any name changes in Section 3, and sign and date the form. 
  • If an employment authorization has expired, you are required to re-verify it in Section 3. If their previous form isn’t current, you must complete this section on an updated version. 
  • For employees whose Section 3 is already used but are being rehired within three years of the form’s original completion, you may complete Section 3 on a new form and attach it to the previously-completed one. 
  • The Department of Homeland Security is deferring the normal requirement to physically examine documents for certain employees upon rehire.  This allows you to inspect Section 2 of Form I-9 remotely, within three business days. Once normal operations at your company resume, these employees must report for official in-person document verification.  

Should background checks and drug screens be redone?

Background checks and drug screens are, of course, typically done prior to hiring new employees. There may be pros and cons to deviating from your standard procedures at this time, given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic crisis. Be sure to consult with your legal team and screening firm to ensure you make the right decision for each individual worker. 

Just when you thought you’d faced every possible business dilemma, along comes a global pandemic that turns things completely upside down. Now more than ever, you need a reliable, trusted employment screening and drug testing, partner. Let Chane Solutions be your one-stop shop for answers, solutions, expert advice, and resources – now and for the future. Contact us today to learn more. 

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