Update Applicable to:
All private employers in Florida with 25 or more employees.
On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed SB 1718, requiring private employers with at least 25 employees to use E-Verify during their onboarding process starting July 1, 2023.
What are the details?
The law applies to new employees hired on or after July 1, 2023.
A private employer that transacts business in Florida, has a license issued by an agency, and employs workers in Florida is required to use the I-9 Form or E-Verify or a substantially equivalent system to verify that new hires or retained contract employees are authorized to work in the United States. If the employer uses the I-9 system, the employer must retain a copy of the documentation for at least 3 years after the individual’s initial date of employment. A private employer that does not use the I-9 Form or E-Verify or does not maintain the I-9 Form documentation for 3 years, will be required by the Department of Economic Opportunity to provide an affidavit stating that the private employer will comply with the law, has terminated the employment of all unauthorized aliens in this state, and will not intentionally or knowingly employ an unauthorized alien in this state.
The bill alters the defenses for employers using the I-9 Form or E-Verify system; and, beginning July 1, 2024, amends the penalties for an employer’s noncompliance to register and use the EVerify system, including requiring reporting and allowing for the suspension and revocation of employer licenses in certain circumstances; it also creates penalties for employers who knowingly employ unauthorized aliens, effective July 1, 2024.
Key Takeaways for Employers on the New Law
If the E-Verify system is unavailable for 3 business days after the first day that the new employee begins working for pay and an employer cannot access the system to verify a new employee’s employment eligibility, the employer must use the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) to verify employment eligibility. The unavailability of the E-Verify system does not bar the employer from using the rebuttable presumption established in paragraph (4)(a). An employer must document the unavailability of the E-Verify system by retaining a screenshot from each day which shows the employer’s lack of access to the system, a public announcement that the E-Verify system is not available, or any other communication or notice recorded by the employer regarding the unavailability of the system.
Businesses with fewer than 25 employees can continue to use Form I-9 to verify employment eligibility or choose to take the extra step of using E-Verify, which comes with heightened immunity protections. Employers that voluntarily use the E-Verify system may also submit annual certifications for documentation purposes.
For more information, please see the links below:
SB 1718 Bill: Link
Bill Page: Link
Full Analysis: Link
What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above to familiarize themselves with the applicable requirements and consult their employment attorney for assistance in ensuring compliance.
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