New Form I-9 Issued in July 2017

It seems like we just had a new Form I-9 issued in November 2016, effective in January 2017.  We did.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an updated version of the I-9 Form on July 17, 2017.  This new form will be mandatory to verify employment eligibility on September 18, 2017.  The revised form issued on November 14, 2016 can be used through September 17, 2017.  The current storage and retention rules remain the same.  “The new version brings very subtle changes to the form’s instructions and list of acceptable documents, which were created with the theoretical goal of making the form easier to navigate,” said Davis Bae, managing partner of the Seattle office of law firm Fisher Phillips. “Besides changing the wording on the form in almost imperceptible ways, the new version renumbers all List C documents except the Social Security card, and streamlines the certification process for certain foreign nationals.”[i]

Download the new here: Form I-9: July 17, 2017

Below are six, common I-9 Questions:

  1. Returning Summer Employees: If you rehire an employee within three years of the date that a previous Form I-9 was completed, you may either complete a new Form I-9 for your employee or complete Section 3 of the previously completed Form I-9, as long as the original I-9 shows current work authorization.”[ii]
  2. Re-verify a Female Employee Upon Getting Married: There is no requirement to re-verify a female employee or any employee who has a name change, currently.  “One other interesting point about transgender employees: The “Other Names Used field in the form has been changed to Other Last Names Used” to avoid potential discrimination issues and provide increased privacy for transgender individuals and others who have changed their first names.”[iii]
  3. Scan I-9s and Store Electronically: Due to the complexity of the rules and regulations regarding electronic scanning of I-9 Forms, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends using a qualified vendor to store I-9 Forms electronically.
  4. End of Retention Period: Shred I-9 Forms at the end of the required retention period.  However, verify the retention period requirements prior to shredding any documents.
  5. Completion Date of I-9 Form: The form can be completed as soon as you offer an individual the job and the job is accepted. It is best practice to have the offer and acceptance in writing.  Remind employees to bring the required documentation on the first day of work, if you do not require completion prior to the first day.
  6. Expired Driver’s License with a Receipt for Extension:  This is not legal.  “You may accept a receipt for a driver’s license that was requested to replace a license that was lost, stolen or damaged.”[iv]

We have seen multiple revisions to the I-9 Form over the past 10-months.  Remember to use the correct form on the dates required.  Switching the form now will save you time in September 2017.  Review the latest identification requirements and know what is acceptable when you are filling out the form.  Remember to fill out the form completely and ensure that the employee fills in their sections completely, signs and dates.  If you are confused seek guidance, I-9 Forms have grown in complexity and length since 1986.

 

 

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 – Matthew Burr, HR Consultant

[i] https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/Pages/USCIS-Issues-Revised-New-Form-I9.aspx

[ii] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/tough-i-9-issues.aspx

[iii] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/tough-i-9-issues.aspx

[iv] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/tough-i-9-issues.aspx

 

5 Updates on Job Description

Job descriptions are an important part of the employment relationship.  Once we complete, modify or update the job description, we might assume that the work is done.  However; essential functions, duties, technology, responsibilities, etc. can and change throughout the employment relationship.  As leaders, we need to review job descriptions and ensure these documents are up-to-date with accurate responsibilities and essential functions.  The link at the end of the article provides additional information on legal cases in which a job description protected the employer and one that harmed the employer.

Below are 5 thoughts on job descriptions:

  1. Current and Accurate: Keep all job descriptions current and accurate.  These descriptions can be reviewed during the annual review process or throughout the year.  Ask the employee for input on duties and responsibilities.  They should know the job!
  2. Essential Job Functions: Ensure that the essential job functions section is accurate and up-to-date.  Physical skills should be included in the essential functions or in another area of the job description.  Is prolonged walking or standing an essential function?  What about lifting material?  How many pounds and how often?  This should also be included in the job description.  Do not forget time spent at a desk.  If the job requires 6-8 hours on the computer, this should be included.  This section can be lengthy or detailed.
  3. FMLA Leave: “If the job description is out of date when an employee seeks FMLA leave, create a current and accurate list of essential job functions, indicate in the designation notice that the employee will be required to submit a fitness for duty certification addressing his or her ability to perform his or her specific job, and provide the list of essential job functions with the notice.”[i]
  4. Approval and Signature: My recommendation is to have more than one individual review and approve the job description prior to finalizing the draft.  There should be a signoff/approval process to ensure we have not missed anything.  Once the description is approved, the employee should review and signoff on the job description.
  5. Internet Search: It is easy to search the internet and find thousands of job descriptions.  However, this does not mean the information is legal, up-to-date or fits the job within your organization.  O’net and SHRM are great resources when drafting or updating job descriptions.  These can be used as templates and resources, to help lay the foundation of a job description that fits the needs of your organization.

As jobs and responsibilities change, so too should job descriptions.  As leaders, we should ask for input when modifying and updating job descriptions, to ensure accuracy and employee engagement.  If you are unsure on where to begin or how to draft a job description, ask for assistance.  Do not assume an internet search will provide legal and accurate information.  The case below is an example of when an inaccurate job description harmed an employer and references a case in which a job description helped an employer.

SHRM Saved – Or Sunk – By the Job Description?

 

– Matthew Burr, HR Consultant

 

[i] https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/Pages/Saved-Sunk-Job-Description.aspx

 

4 Updates on the 2016 Overtime Rule

On June 30, 2017, the Department of Justice released a brief to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, “that the Department of Labor (DOL) intends to revisit the $47,476 ($913 per-week) salary limit set by the rule through new rule-making.”[i]  Recall from the November 2016 district court ruling, which blocked the overtime rule.  The court blocked the rule based on the lack of authority by the Department of Labor to set any salary-level threshold for the exemptions.  The court case has been delayed since March 2017.  The new administration could set a new direction for the Department of Labor, overtime rule, and salary threshold.

Below are 4 thoughts updates on the 2016 overtime rule:

  1. 3-Part Test: This process to determine exemption has not changed in 75 years.  To be exempt, a worker must satisfy the following; be paid on a salary basis, earn a specified salary and satisfy a duties test.  Reminder the exempt levels for Executive and Administrative professionals in New York State will rise again at the end of 2017.
  2. Potential Changes: During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta wants to raise the $23,600 threshold to “somewhere around $33,000.”[ii]
  3. New Rule-making: The Department of Labor will revisit the salary level(s) through the rule-making process.  Under the new administration we could see no need for any courts to evaluate the 2016 rule, blocking the overtime rule and new salary threshold.
  4. Appeals Court: The 2016 case has not been decided yet.  We could still see a ruling from the court system on the salary thresholds blocked in November 2016.  Continue to monitor for any potential updates on this case.

Under the new administration we can expect to see changes to the Department of Labor and potential salary threshold increases.  However, this is a federal threshold.  Remember that state thresholds can be higher than federal thresholds, based on exemption status and the duties tests.  This is comparable to what we see with minimum wage increases, state versus federal.  If you are confused about job classifications, duties tests and threshold levels, ask for guidance.  This legislation will could evolve in the court system or under the new administration.

[i] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/dol-right-to-set-salary-threshold.aspx

[ii] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/dol-right-to-set-salary-threshold.aspx

-Matthew W. Burr