Remote working agreements have gained in popularity over the last few years. When employees can have the flexibility of working from home and employers can eliminate expenses in the office, it’s a win-win for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that remote working situations are cut and dry. Your company still needs to be compliant with federal hiring requirements, no matter where your employees are.
So, what about the I-9 form paperwork? Let’s look at how this requirement can affect your remote employees.
How do you verify documentation from a distance?
The biggest challenge with remote workers filling out an I-9 is the requirement that a representative from your company must examine the documents and fill out the employer section within three days of hire. Ultimately, no matter who you have handle this part of the process, the responsibility is firmly on the hiring company’s shoulder to ensure compliance.
Working with a trusted agent in the location.
Some companies encourage their employees to seek out a notary public to provide this service. But, it is somewhat outside of the purview of what notaries normally do. This has led to confusion on the part of the employees who are unable to get the help they need. Add to that the inability to use digital technology, such as Skype, to aid this process and the fact that the person filling out the employer section cannot be the employee or a family member. The solution is to build relationships with trusted agents who understand the I-9 process.
Create a policy for trusted agents around the country.
If your company employs remote workers regularly, it’s essential you create a policy that allows you to have these forms completed accurately and on time. Create a list of people your employee can reach out to, which may include HR professionals, attorneys, accountants, or staffing professionals. It’s also important to note specific requirements from certain states so you make sure you’ve maintained compliance in the process, even if you’re not personally handling this aspect.
Develop a procedure to be followed for the form.
Since not everyone is an expert at completing I-9 forms, it’s essential you also have a procedure that you can share with your trusted agents. For example, working with a notary, you have to let them know they don’t need to notarize the document, but simply review the forms of identification and complete the employer section of the form. You are ultimately responsible for providing the requirements to your agents.
Create a complete review process of the form.
Once the I-9 form is completed, you must also review it to ensure it is correct. You’ll need to review that the correct documents were accepted and the form was completed and signed properly within the deadline. You may also have to add a sense of urgency to the process if your company participates in the e-verify program, which has the same three-day deadline as the I-9 itself.