USCIS Revises Form I-9

On Friday, March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 for use by employers. All employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each employee hired in the United States.

According to USCIS, improvements to the new Form I-9 include new fields, reformatting to reduce errors, and clearer instructions for both employees and employers.

Effective March 8, 2013, employers should begin using the newly revised Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13) for all new hires and reverifications. However, employers may continue to use previously accepted revisions (Rev.02/02/09) and (Rev. 08/07/09) until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, employers must only use Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13).

The revision date of the Form I-9 is printed on the lower left corner of the form. Employers should not complete a new Form I-9 for current employees if a properly completed Form I-9 is already on file.

An employer’s failure to ensure proper completion and retention of Form I-9 may result in civil monetary penalties of up to $1,100 per I-9. In some cases, criminal penalties may result.

The new Form I-9 has additional data fields, and further instructions for employers, compared to prior forms. This will likely increase the administrative burden for employers.

The revised forms are available in English and Spanish online here.

Tennessee employers are also reminded about the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (“TLEA”). TLEA took effect for private employers with 500 or more employees on January 1, 2012, employers with 200 to 499 employees on July 1, 2012, and employers with 6 to 199 employees on January 1, 2013. TLEA requires Tennessee employers to either verify new hires through the Federal E-Verify system, or to request and maintain one of eleven (11) specified employment authorization documents from newly hired employees.

New FMLA Poster

Under a final rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), all employers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are required to display a poster prepared by the DOL which summarizes the major provisions of the FMLA and informs employees how to file a complaint. The poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it.

Several of the changes to the FMLA regulations made in the final rule, including military caregiver leave for a veteran, qualifying exigency leave for parental care, and the special leave calculation method for flight crew employees, took effect on March 8, 2013.

The final rule extends the availability of FMLA leave to family members of members of the Regular Armed Forces for qualifying exigencies arising out of the servicemember’s deployment; defines those deployments; extends FMLA military caregiver leave for family members of current servicemembers to include an injury or illness that existed prior to service and was aggravated in the line of duty on active duty; extends FMLA military caregiver leave to family members of certain veterans with serious injuries or illness; amends the regulations to implement the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act which establishes eligibility requirements specifically for airline flight crewmembers and flight attendants for FMLA leave; and clarifies revisions concerning calculation of intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave.

The implementation of the final rule resulted in the creation of a revised FMLA poster. All covered employers should replace their existing FMLA poster with the revised version as of March 8, 2013. The new poster is available here.

Further, employers should carefully review their current policies and handbooks in order to ensure that any necessary revisions are made to reflect the changes implemented by the final rule.