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As more US companies prepare to return to the office, whether on a hybrid schedule or otherwise, in addition to grappling with COVID testing protocols and vaccine mandates (read more here), is the reality of re-engaging with compliance matters that may have been on “hiatus” for the last year.

One time-sensitive topic that may have been overlooked is Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification compliance.

While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has allowed some flexibility for US employers over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the relaxed rules will no longer apply once employees are routinely and predictably in the office. Without this flexibility, employers must act quickly to (1) update I-9s completed during the pandemic pursuant to ICE’s flexible rules, and (2) put in place or refresh protocols for I-9 completion and maintenance in a workplace that is always changing with shifting post-pandemic norms.

The issuance of post-pandemic I-9 compliance is time sensitive and the failure to act timely will result in higher risk of fines during an investigation. For many employers, this will be a time-consuming and overwhelming task in light of the moving parts and other elements of office reopening. As a result, planning now to ensure I-9 compliance is an absolute necessity.

In this article, we provide an overview of I-9 requirements and ICE’s I-9 flexibility relating to COVID-19, and propose five steps that all employers should take in advance of office reopening.

Click here to continue reading this Article.

Original article published in Law360.

Special thanks to the authors, Melissa Allchin and Matthew Gorman.