Agencies and departments of local and federal government must follow their own laws to the letter, which is why municipalities and local governments need to have I-9 compliance services in place. While businesses across the nation are required to have their employees complete a Form I-9 to ensure that they are eligible to work in the United States under the Immigration Reform and Control Act passed in 1986 (and still in effect today), the same holds true for municipalities and government offices on all levels.
Under the lens of federal law, this makes sense. However, from a practical standpoint, things can become more challenging. One of the reasons why municipalities and local governments need to have I-9 compliance services is because if added to their already growing list of obligations, it could get lost in the mountains of paperwork and bureaucracy common to these institutions. Should this responsibility get lost in the shuffle, a municipality or local government could find themselves subject to embarrassing violations if an official audit is conducted.
Some of the Top Reasons Why Municipalities and Local Governments Need to Have I-9 Compliance Services
Both municipalities and local governments are known for complicating even simple processes thanks to strict protocol and the amount of official paperwork frequently involved. In turn, this can create a number of compliance obstacles for them, such as:
- Turnover. At municipalities, as well as local and federal levels of government, is not uncommon for individuals to shift positions within the organization. It could be a lateral move to a different department, or one that is a step up or a promotion. Regardless, it typically leaves a vacant position that must then be filled. This may require Form I-9s to be completed for new employees which then creates more work for those overseeing the hiring process. Should a position vacancy take place on a managerial level, it may mean that a person who oversaw hiring compliance will need to be replaced and adequately trained in the process.
- Paperwork. When it comes to the innerworkings of government of just about any level, the responsibility to complete paperwork, reports, and specific forms can be so great that it prohibits employees from being able to make much headway into the work piled on their desks, including Form I-9s.
- Overextension. Some employees, particularly those in managerial positions, may find themselves overextended and unable to keep up with the pace required. Getting bogged down in the process can lead to missed deadlines for the Form I-9 and even improper interpretation of the guidelines, all of which can lead to compliance violations during an official audit.
Consequences of Compliance Failure
The consequences of failure to comply with federal law is the same for municipalities and local governments as it is for any other business in the United States. There is no leniency offered to a government office because of the scope of work it does.
Should an official audit be conducted, and compliance infractions found, violations can be issued and assigned punitive fines per incidence. This means that if the same mistake is made on forty forms, it could amount to forty separate violations, each of which may come with a fine.
It is possible for violations to be assigned due to more common mistakes such as incomplete fields on the form or even a blank section, but much of the time it can instead be related to the improper storage, retention, or correction of the Form I-9. Even these areas come with strict guidelines that must be abided by for an employer to maintain compliance.
While violations and punitive fines for being noncompliant are never a good thing for a business’ image, that can be true to an even greater degree when it comes to the image of a municipality or local government. It may inadvertently send the message that they are unable to comply with their own hiring protocol, making other businesses feel even less confident about doing the same.
How an I-9 Compliance Service Can Help Municipalities and Local Governments
Enlisting the help of an I-9 compliance service is an excellent way to have additional coverage when it comes to double checking important details. These are the primary reasons why municipalities and local governments need to have I-9 compliance services:
- Paperwork may be limited as an I-9 compliance service can take things digital. Cutting down on the mounds of paperwork municipality and local government employees deal with on a daily basis can be critical in staying on top of hiring protocols.
- Digital I-9 software offers additional protection against common mistakes with prompts that are designed to alert employers of potential mistakes before they are officially submitted and cause a compliance issue. This is particularly helpful in the event that a seasoned user has vacated their position and a new person is being trained on the job.
- The digital nature of the Form I-9 can streamline the hiring process. From faster form completion to alerts about upcoming deadlines, anything that enables employers to do the work required of them faster and responsibly can be a great asset.
- Digital I-9 software is designed to auto-populate similar E-Verify fields. For municipalities and local governments that are required to participate in the federal E-Verify program, using the digital software can cut down on repetitive work since it auto-populates some E-Verify fields.
- Most I-9 software also offers users the capability to run an unofficial audit to see if they are meeting the standards required of them. This can be a helpful, proactive measure that enables employers to be better prepared in the event of an official audit.
The real question is not why municipalities and local governments need to have I-9 compliance services, but rather, why would they not? Make Form I-9 compliance a priority with digital I-9 intelligence at your municipality or local government offices today to ensure a more productive and worry-free tomorrow.