Florida Senate Bill 1718 issues new E-Verify requirements impacting businesses operating in Florida.
Florida Senate Bill 1718, passed in May 2023, is a comprehensive immigration bill aimed at enforcing stricter regulations within the state. This bill actively introduces several key provisions to ensure compliance with employment and identification regulations.
For businesses operating in Florida, the most significant change comes in the form of new requirements to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. As part of this bill, businesses with 25 or more employees now have an obligation to utilize the E-Verify system in order to verify the work status of newly hired employees.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an online tool operated by the US Department of Homeland Security. This system utilizes Form I-9 to electronically verify the employment eligibility of new hires. By leveraging information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it confirms records and identifies discrepancies.
Businesses are prohibited from continuing to employ individuals once they obtain knowledge that a person is unauthorized to work in this country.
Why the change in Florida policy?
In the state of Florida, it is unlawful to knowingly employ, hire, recruit, or refer, either for oneself or on behalf of another, someone who is not authorized to work in the US. To ensure compliance with this law, the E-Verify system plays a vital role by verifying the employment status of workers.
Currently, public employees and private employers contracting with state and local governments or receiving state incentive dollars are required to use this system. The new bill extends this mandate to all businesses with 25 or more employees.
However, it's important to note that independent contractors are not considered employees and are exempt from this process.
What are the penalties for noncompliance?
Noncompliance penalties are severe for employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers. If the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) determines that an employer has failed to use the E-Verify system as required three times within a 24-month period, the department must impose a fine of $1,000 per day until the employer provides sufficient proof of compliance.
Under the new law, businesses will receive prior notification from the DEO before penalties are issued for violations. Upon receiving notice, businesses have a 30-day window to rectify any noncompliance. In the case of a first violation, businesses enter a one-year probationary period with reporting obligations, enabling them to take steps towards compliance before any licenses are at risk of revocation.
How do I prepare my business to use E-Verify?
If your business meets these qualifications and is not already utilizing E-Verify during the onboarding process, it's best to get ahead of the curve. Register your business on the E-Verify website to ensure preparedness by July 1.
Penalties will be effective starting from July 1, 2024, so it is crucial for your business to be proactive in understanding and fulfilling their obligations to avoid these penalties and ensure compliance with the law.
Greenshades Streamlines the E-Verify Process
Greenshades streamlines the process of registering for E-Verify and verifying employment status for new hires. As a Greenshades client, you can proactively register for E-Verify through your workspace. After receiving approval from DHS, Greenshades facilitates the verification of employment status for new hires using their I-9 forms completed during the onboarding process.
By leveraging Greenshades' comprehensive platform, businesses can confidently navigate the E-Verify process and maintain compliance with employment regulations. Contact us today to learn more!