The Importance of Employment Verification and Recordkeeping

Without a doubt the worst part of starting a new job is the mass amount of paperwork that needs to be tended to within your first few days. This process is not fun for the employee or the employer, but it is necessary in order to verify identity and employment authorization. If you’re just starting out your business and acting as the HR department there are a few things to note when it comes to employment verification and what needs to happen next.

Every employer must complete Form I-9 in order to verify the identity and employment authorization of each new employee. New employees are required to complete the first section of the I-9 no later than the first day on the job. Section 1 covers basic information such as name, address, date of birth, and social security number, as well as a series of statements about citizenship and identity.

You will notice the I-9 Form is broken into sections, each having different ‘due dates’. While section 1 needs to be completed by the end of the first day of employment, the employee and employer have 3 days to complete section 2 (unless the employee will work less than 3 days). In order to complete section 2 of the I-9, employees can provide a variety of documents to prove their identity. It should be noted that only original documentation can be accepted for this portion of the I-9; photocopies will not suffice. With the documents provided by the new employee, the employer will cross-reference information to ensure accuracy and fill out their portion of the I-9. Photocopies of the documents can be made, but are not mandatory. If you choose to make copies you will still need to complete section 2 of the I-9 as well.

The last section of the Form I-9 is simply for reverification and rehires. In a situation where an employee provides an employment authorization expiration date in section 1 of the form, you as an employer will need to reverify the employment either before or on the date of expiration. Earlier, we talked about the approved list of documentation in order to verify identity; this list is actually split into a few sections, list a, list b, and list c. This is important to know because items presented from list b are not subject to be ‘re-verified’, while items from list a and list c are. 

Once verified, the employer is responsible for retaining records of the documentation for 3 years after the date of hire, or one year after employment ends, whichever happens later. Recordkeeping can be done either electronically* or in paper form.

*Electronic recordkeeping can only be done using a secure system that will not compromise the integrity, accuracy, and reliability of the information (SHRM). 

To print off an official I-9 Form visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website