The restaurant industry is one of the most susceptible to high and constant turnover rates, which can mean onboarding employees is a never ending and tedious process for management. By partnering with a professional compliance solutions company, restaurants can receive much needed assistance with E-Verify via I-9 compliance software, making onboarding employees easier and more accurate.
Help is Available to Keep the Restaurant Industry I-9 Compliant
There are a number of compliance challenges in the restaurant industry that make an additional resource for onboarding and processing new hires a necessity. Some of the unique challenges restaurant owners and management staff face today include the following:
- Temporary job seekers. The restaurant industry is unique in that many of its wait staff, hosts, bartenders and kitchen staff are looking for temporary jobs. This can be due to young teenagers looking for summer or part-time jobs, an adult looking to work a second job to payoff an unexpected debt, or even a student who is waiting tables while attending college.
- High turnover rates. Temporary jobs generally yield high turnover rates, and over the years restaurants have consistently experienced this. High turnover rates can also mean high employment rates. This means that completing I-9 forms is more of an ongoing practice that requires a high level of organization and attention to detail.
- Training compliance staff. Just as restaurants can experience high turnover in the positions of kitchen staff, wait staff and hosts, it can also affect management. Any time a new manager charged with implementing or overseeing hiring practices for compliance comes on board, they require in-depth training to effectively stay compliant with E-Verify and Form I-9 practices.
- Meeting Form I-9 deadlines. The Form I-9 has three main sections, all of which have individual guidelines and deadlines that must be abided by. Should any one guideline or deadline be overlooked, it could be grounds for a compliance violation.
Solutions for Keeping the Restaurant Industry I-9 Compliant
The restaurant industry requires owners and managers to wear multiple hats in daily activities, but bearing the burden of achieving and maintaining compliance is not something they have to do alone.
While restaurant management must verify each employee’s work eligibility, digital I-9 software can be an added tool in eliminating verification errors. The goal in incorporating this service is to achieve compliance now rather than waiting for an ICE audit to find out about the restaurant not being in compliance.
This software is designed by individuals who intimately understand immigration and employment laws and use that knowledge to help industries such as restaurants stay compliant.
A proper digital I-9 compliance software program should provide the following benefits:
- Be user friendly and intuitive. This is done by making the process paperless as well as minimizing human error on the Form I-9 before it becomes a compliance issue.
- Ensure you are using the most current version of the Form I-9. While this form does not change often, using an incorrect version would be considered a violation in the event of an audit.
- Prevent inadvertent errors such as blank fields, incomplete fields, or missing signatures. The software alerts employers of errors on the form prior to officially submitting it. This is particularly helpful in the fast-paced environment of restaurants where management is responsible for multiple roles that can impact their focus when filling out the Form I-9.
- Help confirm acceptable documents required for the Form I-9. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services accepts only certain identification documents from employees that employers are then tasked with reviewing for authenticity. The digital software assists employers with this verification by providing samples of acceptable documents for comparison purposes.
- Provide upcoming deadline alerts. It is possible for re-verification of work authorization to be required. The software program will provide employers with dashboard and/or email alerts before re-verification is actually required. This is instrumental in helping employers avoid missing a deadline that could result in a compliance violation.
- Be compatible with E-Verify. Although not all states require restaurants to enroll in the federal E-Verify program, many do. Rather than filling out a Form I-9 for an employee that must then be manually recreated in E-Verify, a reputable software program will auto populate the latter with information from the Form I-9. This can help reduce the workload per employee as well as the odds of making additional errors that can come with inputting data for a second time.
- Make documents easily accessible. When juggling the form for restaurant employee after restaurant employee, simply keeping track of the forms and being able to quickly access them can become a full-time job. However, I-9 compliance software can help employers manage proper retention policies for I-9 forms and enable access to the forms as needed, whether for a mock audit or the real thing.
Streamlining the Hiring Process for Restaurants with Digital I-9 Software
In addition to catching common Form I-9 mistakes and alerting on upcoming deadlines to keep employers from having compliance issues, the software is also designed to streamline the hiring process. This is particularly key in the restaurant business where time for clerical duties is somewhat limited due to daily restaurant hours.
Digital I-9 software was designed for the employer who has little time but still aspires to achieve compliance with federal employment laws. For this reason, the system is equipped to provide both employers and employees checklists of information and responsibilities that are included in properly completing the Form I-9.
This can help employees keep track of what information and documents they may need to gather to complete the form and still meet federally mandated deadlines.
Employers are able to track the completion of each step in regard to its respective deadline and ensure that the employee does not fall behind in completing the form.
If you own or manage a restaurant you are likely already familiar with the I-9 compliance challenges in the restaurant industry, but they do not have to be a source of constant worry and concern when utilizing additional resources such as digital I-9 software. Have more confidence in your hiring practices and compliance efforts so you can focus on making your restaurant a culinary success.