Holiday Temps: I-9 and E-Verify Tips for Seasonal Employees

Posted by bfancher

Tis the season for seasonal workers, and Black Friday is just the beginning. With many organizations even advertising for walk-in positions, HR professionals need to know the correct way to process I-9 forms and E-Verify for seasonal or temporary hires.

The tips below, as well as other government guidelines for how to complete the Form I-9, can be found in the The Handbook for Employers Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (Rev. 06/01/2011), also known as the M-274, published by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) . It is strongly recommended that all HR staff or managers who complete I-9s should, at a minimum, familiarize themselves with this handbook.

Don’t take temporary worker I-9s for granted.
The first thing to keep in mind is to treat I-9s and E-Verify as seriously for temporary employees as you do for permanent, long-term employees. Remember: even though an employee may be only temporary or seasonal, your organization will have to live with that I-9 form for a minimum of three years, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement can fine you up to $1,100 per I-9 form in error.

Complete Section 2 on the first day for temps working 3 days or less.
The 3-day grace period to sign Section 2 does not apply for employees hired to work for less than 3 days. Normally you have until the 3rd business day after hiring to complete Section 2 of the I-9, but if the employee is only hired to work 3 days or less, you must complete Section 2 on the first day.

Only accept an original Section 2 document for temps working 3 days or less.
Unlike longer-term employees, if an employee is hired to work for 3 days or less, the employer must only accept an original Section 2 document. While you may only accept original documents for temps working 3 days or less, be careful to avoid discrimination allegations by not specifying which document types the employee can present. Provide them with the full list of A, B and C options.

Follow consistent I-9 practices for re-hiring temporary or seasonal employees.
Always be consistent, even across worksites. For example, if you re-hire an employee within 3 years of the initial date of hire, you can either complete a new Form I-9, or update Section 3 of the original Form I-9. Whichever you do for one, do for all.

E-Verify all seasonal and temporary employees where/when E-Verify laws apply.
You must E-verify all employees working at a worksite that participates in E-Verify, even if the employee is seasonal or temporary. If your organization is a federal contractor and the temp employee is working under the contract, or if state or local E-Verify laws apply to your worksite, you must E-Verify all affected employees, even if they work for 3 days or less.

Stay Timely and Consistent to Stay in Compliance.
Whether using paper I-9 forms, electronic I-9 software or a combination of both, remember to I-9 and E-Verify temporary employees with the same care and consistency as you do all your employees. This is especially true if your company hires temporary and seasonal workers in large numbers, because such companies draw the most attention for potential auditing by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).