Employment laws can be a bit confusing and overwhelming at times. You created your construction company so you could meet the needs of your customers, not so you could continually pay attention to changing mandates about who could and couldn’t help with your projects as well as when and how they could do so. Dealing with construction job requirements can be a source of frustration, and the process of adhering to federal and, in some cases, state legal obligations to verify the employment eligibility of new hires can be equally vexing.
Florida employment laws may frustrate you one more time, though, thanks to the passage of a new law that will require companies like yours to use the E-Verify system if you have 25 or more employees. What does this mean for your company? We’ll help you break down these ideas.
A Quick History of E-Verify in Florida
E-Verify laws haven’t always been a part of the employment law landscape in the state. Actually, the requirements for employers to use the system didn’t actually begin until 2021. The implementation of the new law requires construction companies like yours to verify the work authorization status of any employee who had just been hired through I-9 documentation or the E-Verify system.
DeSantis’ New Law
HB 1617 and SB 1718 changes the requirements for employers who were exclusively using I-9 documentation to verify work authorization status. Passed by the state senate on May 10, 2023, the bill states that any private company that employs more than 25 people must exclusively use the E-Verify system for any newly hired employee. Those who fail to do so will face stiff penalties. They could face fines of up to $1000 per day until they provide proof to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that they are in compliance.
Not every construction company is happy about these changes. The idea behind the laws is that they ensure individuals who are not authorized to work in the U.S. cannot do so, thus employers are less likely to hire undocumented immigrants for a job and more likely to hire those who are legally eligible to work in the United States. Many construction companies, however, have complained that this new legislation will create serious administrative problems for their companies and have massive financial consequences. Many also argue that the E-Verify system is outdated and difficult to use.
Other companies, however, are in favor of the law. They believe using E-Verify helps employers avoid inadvertently hiring individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States, which helps them remain compliant and provides a digital record of the verification process, which can simplify record-keeping and auditing for their companies.
How Does E-Verify Work?
The process doesn’t have to be complex, though it may be a bit longer than the process your company currently uses. Here’s a quick overview:
- Completion of Form I-9: When an individual is hired, they complete Form I-9 to verify their identity and employment eligibility.
- Submission to E-Verify: Your team enters the information from the I-9 into the E-Verify system. This includes information such as the employee's name, date of birth, Social Security number, and citizenship status.
- Verification: E-Verify then compares the information against records from the SSA and the Department of Homeland Security to confirm the employee's eligibility to work in the U.S. If the information matches, the employee is considered employment-authorized.
- Possible Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC): In some cases, E-Verify may return a Tentative Nonconfirmation if there is a discrepancy in the information provided. This gives the employee an opportunity to resolve the issue with the relevant government agency.
- Final Verification: Once any issues are resolved, the final employment eligibility verification is provided through the E-Verify system.
Adapting to the Changing Legal Requirements
Overall, embracing the use of E-Verify for your newest team members has become a lawful necessity. Tower Eight Staffing stands ready to assist you in meeting this crucial requirement. Our extensive pool of candidates not only meets the construction job prerequisites but is also fully compliant with Florida employment laws. We are dedicated to ensuring that we can connect you with the ideal temporary or long-term team members that are compliant with old and new laws. To elevate your skilled staff on the job site and to find out more about our services, get in touch with us today! Together, we can enhance your workforce and promote a compliant and efficient work environment.