Florida Tightens Employment Authorization Requirements


The big news today is for all you business owners in Florida.  Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed Senate Bill 1718 into law, and it brings some important new guidelines that you need to know about.  So, let’s jump right in!

The big change in this bill is the introduction of the E-Verify system. Starting July 1, 2023, if you have 25 or more employees, you will be required to use E-Verify for all new hires. E-Verify is an online tool that helps you confirm if your employees are eligible to work in the US by checking their info against records from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that not following the E-Verify requirement can lead to some hefty penalties. Starting from July 1, 2024, if you don’t comply, you could be hit with a daily fine of $1,000 until you fix the error. So, make sure you’re registered with E-Verify and that your hiring process is locked down, to avoid those penalties.

And, as was always the case, once you find out an employee is unauthorized to work, you can’t keep them on the payroll.  It’s illegal, and you could face penalties. Starting from July 1, 2024, knowingly employing unauthorized workers can result in a $1,000 fine for the first violation. But if it happens again, you could be looking at a $2,500 fine, a misdemeanor charge, and even the possibility of losing your state licenses.

Also of note – if your new hire presents an out-of-state driver’s licenses or permits that were issued only to unauthorized immigrants, Florida won’t recognize them anymore. And going forward, unauthorized immigrants will be unable to get a Florida driver’s license as well.

So, what can you do to make sure you’re following these new guidelines and avoid getting into trouble? First things first, take a good look at your employee census. If you’ve got 25 or more employees, you’ll need to get registered and set up procedures to use the E-verify system for new hires.  The process can be cumbersome, so best to get starting right away.

It’s also a good idea to review all your Form I-9 documents and your current hiring process. Do an internal audit to catch any compliance issues and fix them before they become a problem.

And don’t forget to spread the word among your managers, HR folks, and anyone involved in hiring. Teach them about the importance of E-Verify and how to properly handle I-9 documents. Knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s also the key to staying out of trouble.

To wrap it up, Senate Bill 1718 brings some new guidelines around immigration and employment requirements in Florida. As business owners, it’s crucial to be aware of these changes and make sure you’re following the rules to avoid any penalties or legal issues.

And that’s your HR quickie, for today, May 15, 2023.

If you have questions, or just need some help – and you’re one of our valued clients, well – just reach out to your HR Business Partner.

But, what if you’re not a client?  Well, reach out to us anyway…we’re happy to help.

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