Georgia E-Verify expansion affects small businesses, contractors
The final phase of the Georgia E-Verify law requires that private employers who have 10 or more employees (as of January 1, 2013) must start using the federal E-Verify system for new hires as of July 1, 2013.
The federal E-Verify program is a federal electronic online system that allows employers to confirm whether their new hire are legally authorized to work in the U.S.
The final phase of this law is expected to have a major impact on Georgia businesses and public contractors. It expands the E-Verify requirement to thousands of small businesses that are contracted to perform labor or services in excess of $2,499.99, ranging from public construction to information technology and accounting services.
History of E-Verify in Georgia
When the Georgia E-Verify law (HB 87) was passed into law in 2011, it set the effective dates for Georgia employers to use E-Verify in three phases:
- January 1, 2012: Effective for employers with 500 or more employees.
- July 1, 2012: Effective for employers with 100 or more, but fewer than 500, employees.
- July 1, 2013: Effective for employers with more than 10, but fewer than 100, employees.
This final phase of HB 87 implementation commenced on July 1, 2013, when E-Verify enrollment became mandatory for all private employers with more than 10 employees.
For purposes of calculating the number of employees, companies must include any employee working at least 35 hours a week as of January 1, 2013.
Georgia employers would be well advised to review their employment verification policies/procedures immediately to ensure that their I-9, E-Verify and associated practices are fully compliant.
Without compliant I-9 and E-Verify practices, an employer undoubtedly will face numerous issues in administering the E-Verify program since it relies on information taken directly from the Form I-9 and input into the online system.
Furthermore, in today's era of heightened government scrutiny of employer I-9 practices, deficient employment verification practices can expose employers to substantial civil monetary penalties and even criminal sanctions in some cases.
To read a full summary of the new legislation, click here. There is also software available to aid in bringing your tree care company into compliance with Form I-9 employment eligibility verification and E-Verify regulations.
Members outside Georgia can use this map to research E-Verify regulations throughout the country by state.