By now, as a business owner you are likely aware of the Emergency Standard that went into effect Monday, July 27, 2020 in the state of Virginia to combat the spread of COVID-19. Virginia was the first state in the nation to adopt mandatory standards, quickly followed by California.
COVID-19 has not only made companies reevaluate how they do business but also presented unique challenges in onboarding new employees. The Employment Eligibility Form, also know as the I-9 Form, is an important part of onboarding and has strict rules of when to complete the form and what kind of documentation must be presented by the new employee. Section 1 of the I-9 Form must be completed once an applicant accepts a job offer or on the first day of employment. The employee then has three business days to present documentation that establishes their employment authorization and identity, and these documents are required to be inspected by the employer in order for the employer to complete Section 2 of the I-9. Due to stay-at-home orders and employers allowing their workforce to telecommute the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced they will not require employers to review Acceptable Documents in the presence of the employees, and this new COVID-19 “Virtual” Verification allowance from DHS was due to expire on June 18, 2020 and due to ongoing precautions, the deadline has been extended until July 18, 2020. But do these rules apply to every employer? And are there other options when completing the I-9? What happens after the DHS deadline is met and your workforce is still working remotely?