The Annual I-9 Audit

Earlier this month, we discussed the importance of conducting a mid-year review of documents, internal policies, and organizational processes that your company has in place to ensure compliance, efficiency, and best practices.

On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the new, updated
version of the Form I-9. In November of 2016, the USCIS released an updated form with substantive changes; the updates in this version primarily pertain to re-naming and re-numbering.

The release of this updated document provides employers with a perfect opportunity to conduct a mid-year audit of their I-9 files to ensure that these forms are properly completed and stored. At a minimum, yearly file audits are an important means of ensuring that employers are compliant with new and existing laws. In addition, the manner in which a company maintains its filing system can reduce the risk of liability from employee lawsuits.

As a general rule of thumb when conducting these audits, make certain that the following key factors are reviewed:

  • All I-9 forms are complete. Employee and employer have filled out their required sections and the required information has been provided by the employee. Should any issues be discovered, correct them immediately.
  • All I-9 forms from terminated employees have been pulled from the I-9 binder and included in a separate I-9 file.
  • I-9 forms that have been stored past the required retention periods (3 years after the date of hire for current employees; 1 year after termination for former employees) are properly destroyed.

With regards to the recently released form, employers are required to have the Form I-9 completed for each newly hired employee to verify their identity and employment eligibility to work in the United States. Employers are permitted to continue using the previous version of the Form I-9, with a revision date of 11/14/2016, through September 17, 2017. No later than September 18, 2017 all employers MUST use the current, revised form (with the revision date of 7/17/17) for each newly hired employee or any employee who requires verification of identity and employment eligibility.

The release of this new, updated form does not mean employers are required to redo all previously completed Form I-9s. You can download a hard copy and can also access the fillable version of the new form here.

HRCentral specializes in conducting thorough and efficient file audits and reviews. Contact us today to schedule an audit of your existing files, and to establish file maintenance processes that will ensure your organization’s personnel and I-9 files are compliant and effectively maintained.



The Personal, Mid-Year Review

Whether formal or informal, many employees are given a performance evaluation on an annual basis. Organizations are rapidly stepping away from the numerical, data-driven style of reviews (ranking the employee on some range indicating levels of performance) and instead are focusing on professional development and growth and setting personal goals that are mutually beneficial to both the employee and the organization.

While this more informal approach can occur at either a set time each year, or on an as-needed basis, at the end of the day the responsibility of accomplishing goals and objectives lies solely in the hands of the employee.

Halfway through your annual review period, take the time to conduct a personal, mid-year review to determine where you’re at in meeting any goals you and your supervisor have set and any modifications you may need to make to ensure success.

  • Reflect back on the past six months and identify accomplishments and achievements. What did you do to that aided in your successes, and how can you implement that into meeting current and future goals?
  • Identify those areas in which you’ve struggled. Reevaluate your objectives and make any necessary changes to your routines to ensure that you give yourself adequate time and resources to bounce back.
  • Have your goals and objectives changed in the past six months? Do you have a new direction and focus, requiring a need to set new goals?
  • After reviewing and modifying your goals, as necessary, prioritize them.

The personal, mid-year review is meant to be just that, personal. You can decide whether or not you wish to share this evaluation of your goals with your supervisor, but ultimately, the purpose is to give yourself a kickstart to progress positively into the second half of the year. A reflection of your professional (and personal, should they overlap) goals to determine how far you’ve come in recent months, where you’re at now, and what you need to do to successfully move forward.

Mid-Year Document and Process Review

As we discussed last week, summer often provides employers with a chance to do a thorough mid-year review. While there are a number of deadlines and goals that need to be met at this annual halfway point (e.g., EEO reporting preparation, planning for an audit, etc.), this is also a great time to take a step back and review any documents or internal policies and processes that your organization has in place, and determine if any modifications are warranted for efficiency, compliance, and best practices.

Items that warrant a go-over include:

  • Employee Handbook – January is fairly standard for handbook reviews and updates as the start of the year is typically when state and federal agencies release any updates and changes to governing law and regulations applicable to employers. However, updates are often made periodically throughout the year, so a review at this time to ensure compliance with employment and labor law, and to make certain all polices are adequately modified in a timely manner, is a great way to stay on top of these constant changes.
  • Job Descriptions – A document that is habitually forgotten about once the initial copy is drafted and put in place, job descriptions should be reviewed regularly to make any changes needed to ensure that the essential functions accurately reflect the work actually being done. The scope of work for so many positions changes on an incredibly regular basis, so taking the time to sit down with your employees and review these duties is essential for FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)  and DOL (Department of Labor) compliance.
  • Internal Processes/Systems – The culture of an organization is something that is always changing with the times. As such, it is important to take a look at how you manage your employees, what processes work and what ones don’t, and how systems can be modified to encourage productivity and loyalty (e.g., modifying a telecommuting policy during the summer months or revamping your process for employee suggestions and feedback).

Making the time to do periodic reviews to documents, processes, and policies can save you a ton of time in the long run and can help ensure that your HR and employment-related documents are always compliant and up to date. HRCentral specializes in reviewing, updating, and creating these documents and processes. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation to see if your organization can benefit from an HR department refresh or update!

Preparing for EEO Reporting

Summer typically marks that time of year when employers wrap up and finalize the compilation of data collected over the past 12 months for EEO reporting. In recent years, September 30th marked the annual deadline for filing the EEO-1 report, but in September of 2016, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) announced a revised EEO-1 report, starting in 2017, that would require employers to collect summary pay data in addition to the standard collection of data pertaining to race/ethnicity and sex.

The reason for this change to the data collected and analyzed is to allow the EEOC the opportunity to study and combat pay gaps and discrimination, particularly for women and minorities. The revised EEO-1 report will (ideally) help obtain the information needed to identify pay discrimination.

This update applies to employers with 100 or more employees, and with this new reporting process, the EEOC and the Joint Reporting Committee have given employers more time to aid in this transition, extending the reporting deadline to March 31, 2018. Employers will have a total of 18 months, from September 30, 2016 (the 2016 reporting deadline) through March 31, 2018 (the 2017 reporting deadline) to track data and make this change to their reporting process.

Employers with 50-99 employees will be required to collect data on sex and race/ethnicity (as they had done in the past), and employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to submit a report. The same reporting deadline of March 31, 2018 applies to all employers required to file.

This mid-point of the year, even with the extension of the reporting deadline, is a great opportunity for employers to review their data collection process and the information they have already collected. Make sure that the data that you’ve been collecting since September of 2016 is accurate and complete, and ensure that your process for collecting information on race/ethnicity, sex, and pay is streamlined and an efficient use of both your and your employees’ time. This mid-year review can help you identify any errors or necessary changes, saving you time in the long run.

HRCentral specializes in assisting employers with establishing processes for collecting data, creating Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs), organizing and compiling information collected, and filing the EEO-1 repand other applicable reports (such as the VETS-4212 report). Contact us today if you have any questions regarding the updated EEO-1 reporting process or for assistance in filing.