Although companies have been performing employee eligibility verification since the passage of the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986, there is an increased urgency for businesses to be compliant and ready for an audit. In the last several years, there has been an uptick in the number of workplace audits and investigations regarding Form I-9 compliance. For this reason, employers are turning to digital I-9 software as a resource, but before partnering with a provider, companies need to be crystal clear on what should be included in I-9 software.
What is Digital I-9 Software?
Onboarding an employee is time intensive all on its own, especially for those businesses that have dozens of employees and/or multiple locations. For every employee that is hired, the law requires a Form I-9 be completed to verify their eligibility to work within the United States. Each form has three sections with individual instructions, guidelines, and deadlines.
Digital Form I-9 software can be helpful in streamlining this process by making it paperless and minimizing human error, which can sometimes cause compliance issues that come with heavy penalties.
What Features Should Be Included In Form I-9 Software?
Digital I-9 software is designed to be an efficient, user friendly, comprehensive product that helps employers navigate everything from the Form I-9 to the E-Verify program requirements. Some of the features clients should expect in a reputable I-9 software should include:
Minimization of Errors.
A Form I-9 with an incomplete field, empty field, or missing signature can all be red flags for compliance, but an intelligent I-9 software program with dynamic prompts should minimize the amount of these errors by providing instant alerts to employers prior to submitting a form.
Assistance Confirming Acceptable Documents.
USCIS defines a set outline of acceptable documents, and employees must provide an employer with both an approved identificationa and a work authorization document. Employers are required to collect and review these documents for authenticity to the best of their abilities and by specific guidelines set forth in the Form I-9. An intelligent I-9 software will help employers by providing samples of the listed acceptable document which they can compare to the documents provided by the employee.
Deadline Alerts and Audit Log.
A good I-9 software program will provide several options for employers to manage their compliance responsibilities including a management dashboard, e-mail alerts for impending deadlines where work authorization re-verification is required or other E-Verify compliance actions are required. On demand management reports for monitoring compliance are also key to any effective I-9 software. An audit trail, or otherwise called “change history” of all I-9 form changes should be available in the I-9 software for all forms that require updates during the required retention period of the employee’s form.
Integration is key to efficiency, and the very best digital I-9 software will be integrated with E-Verify and will provide an option to be seamlessly integrated with an employer’s on-boarding and payroll systems, creating an exceptional user experience for both the employee and HR professionals involved in completing the Form I-9.
Document Retention and Accessibility.
Whether it is for a mock audit or the impromptu real thing, employers should have software that will grant them access to forms as needed. In addition, the software should assist an employer in managing the proper retention policies for all I-9 forms.
High performing security and privacy protocols must be put in to place to securely encrypt and store sensitive information.
Why Businesses Need Digital I-9 Software with E-Verify Integration
While it is not advisable, even employers who think they can adequately handle the above tasks for every new hire they have on their own will find the I-9 software to be particularly valuable when working with the federal E-Verify program.
A few features of digital I-9 software that can be advantageous when also working with E-Verify can be:
- Single data entry. Reputable digital I-9 software should have the ability to auto populate E-Verify fields with the information from the Form I-9 which can help cut down on additional incidence of human error.
- Duplication alerts. A software program can usually detect duplicate form entries before submitting through E-Verify, which notifies employers of potential social security fraud.
- Save time. By using a reputable I-9 software that is integrated with E-Verify, the employer can seamlessly perform all required compliance actions involving the tentative non-confirmation notices to employees as an employee notice feature is built into the workflow of a digital I-9 software, avoiding time consuming manual steps and tracking.
If your company is already stretched to its limits in handling new hires or is interested in simply streamlining a sometimes-cumbersome process, consider digital I-9 software to add valuable peace of mind to the hiring process.