Florida House Passes Bill Mandating E-Verify for Private Employers

Florida House Passes Bill Mandating E-Verify for Private Employers
May 12, 2023

The Florida legislature has passed a bill to expand on the E-Verify requirements from 2020. Should the governor sign and enact the bill, it would require private employers with at least 25 employees to use the E-Verify system. This system assists employers with verifying their employees’ employment eligibility. The new bill would require these employers to comply starting July 1, 2023. 

As such, this requirement would not include employees hired before this date, such as independent contractors. The bill also imposes other exceptions while addressing various concerns. For example, the bill stated the following:

“An employee leasing company licensed under part XI of chapter 468 which enters into a written agreement or understanding with a client company which places the primary obligation for compliance with this section upon the client company is not required to verify employment eligibility of any new employees of the client company. In the absence of a written agreement or understanding, the employee leasing company is responsible for compliance with this section. Such employee leasing company shall, at all times, remain an employer as otherwise defined in federal laws or regulations.”

Unfortunately, sometimes the system proves unavailable at inconvenient times. For example, employers may find the system unavailable for over three business days when verifying an employee’s employment eligibility. If the timing aligns with the three days after the employee’s start date, the employer must use the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) form. In addition, they must include a screenshot or other proof that they could not access the system.

The law also mandates that employers required to use E-Verify must “certify on its first return each calendar year to the tax service provider that it complies with this section when making contributions to or reimbursing the state’s unemployment compensation or reemployment assistance system. An employer that voluntarily uses the E-Verify system may also make such a certification on its first return each calendar year in order to document such use.” 

Additionally, employers must retain a copy of each new employee’s E-Verify documentation for at least three years. Failure to comply with these E-Verify requirements could result in the state suspending the business’s license and $1,000 fines for every day they do not comply. This bill would enforce these consequences starting July 1, 2024.

The bill would strengthen employment requirements. As such, employers should prepare for when it passes, as failure to comply will prove costly. The best way to ensure compliance with E-verify and Form I-9 requirements is to incorporate an electronic I-9 management software with E-Verify integration. This tool can provide step-by-step guidance throughout the process, ensuring the safe storage of forms and documentation.

When it comes to your work, automation makes eligibility verification quick and seamless. Get a head start today with I-9 Compliance.