HR Onboarding Software

Over the span of a year, American businesses collectively do hundreds if not millions of new hires that can be facilitated by HR onboarding software. This digital software helps overwhelmed employers and human resources departments simplify the Form I-9 component of the hiring process and provides an added measure of confidence in being compliant with government regulations.

The passage of the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 yielded a legal document, better known as the Form I-9, created to establish an individual’s identity and employment eligibility for working in the United States. Completion of this form is required of all employees who began working in 1987 and beyond.

Certain departments of the United States’ Homeland Security Department may conduct announced or unannounced Form I-9 audits at a business. Some audits may come with one- or two-days warning and others may come with no notice at all. During an audit, those businesses who are found not to be Form I-9 compliant can receive costly fines. Depending on the type of violation, businesses could be issued hefty fines, suffer a loss of workforce, or even the loss of a business license.

With the stakes so high, many businesses are doing everything they can to be compliant and prepared, often with the help of HR onboarding software.

 

What is HR onboarding software?

HR onboarding software, sometimes referred to as digital I-9 software, is designed to simplify and digitize the Form I-9 process. It assists employers with everything from preparation checklists to highlighting common errors to staying on top of Form I-9 deadlines that could potentially affect a company’s ability to be compliant. The software is an added resource in navigating the Form I-9 procedure that may provide employers with a more comprehensive peace of mind when it comes to preparing for potential audits.

 

HR Onboarding Software and the Form I-9

The Form I-9 may seem simple to navigate but can be more complex than it appears, especially when multiplied by numerous new hires for a business. Particularly because of the fast-paced deadlines associated with different sections of the Form I-9, it can be all too easy to make mistakes. HR onboarding software was created to help minimize common Form I-9 mistakes such as those below:

  • Form Inconsistencies. Missing and inaccurate Form I-9s can be reason for a company to be found not compliant. With HR onboarding software, missing forms become less of an issue when information is digitized and paperless. The software can also be instrumental in catching blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures on the form, mistakes of which can negatively impact a company’s Form I-9 audit.
  • Different sections of the Form I-9 have specific timelines for completion that can be easy for employers to miss when swamped with day to day responsibilities. Digital I-9 software is designed to provide helpful reminders to employers about upcoming deadlines.
  • Document Tracking. The Form I-9 requires employees to provide one or more identification documents to the employer. It is the employer’s responsibility to verify all collected documents.  HR onboarding software assists companies in tracking document collection.
  • Documentation Follow Up. If an employee’s documentation is set to expire during the course of their employment, it can be grounds for compliance issues if no measures have been taken to attain new proof of eligibility prior to the documents’ expiration. The software can aid employers with timely reminders about soon to be expired documents for employees.

 

Why use onboarding software?

HR onboarding software can be an asset when it comes to catching common Form I-9 mistakes like the ones listed above, but its benefits go far beyond that feature. The user-friendly software is designed to help streamline the Form I-9 process from start to finish to help businesses be compliant and maintain that status.

Depending on the provider, software programs may vary slightly in design, but employers can generally expect some of the following:

  • Digital System. By using digital Form I-9 software, employers can have access to a paperless solution. While cutting down on the number of papers associated with new hires is often desirable, it is usually even more so for employers who are juggling hiring at a company with multiple locations.
  • Preparation Checklists. The amount of information required on a Form I-9 on an employee’s first day of work can be overwhelming. To help employees be better prepared, many HR onboarding software programs provide an advance peek at what information will be required.  Employers should also have access to a checklist that helps keep the Form I-9 process moving forward with specific action items.
  • Form Assistance. The Form I-9 is a complex document that requires a number of information fields and signature lines to be completed. HR onboarding software can help employers catch human errors on the form such as blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures. It can also provide prompts to employers regarding expiring documents that require action to avoid compliance issues.
  • E-Verify Interface. Companies enrolled in the E-Verify program will appreciate the way it interacts with HR onboarding software. The two should work well together, allowing for the system to auto-populate, send important alerts, and flag open cases.
  • Flexible Reporting and Audit Support. One of the features of HR onboarding software used by diligent management is flexible reporting. This component of the program lets employers access reports at any time to assess compliance. In the case of an official audit, the software company should be able to provide auditors with details about specific operations and an audit trail as well as a mass printing of a business’ Form I-9 records and attachments.

 

The stakes for not being I-9 compliant can be costly, and that is why businesses are increasingly turning to HR onboarding software to help them navigate the pitfalls of staying compliant with an increased peace of mind.

Rehire Guide for Restaurants

As new federal and local government mandates are issued regarding the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants that have been forced to lay off workers are already grappling with how to be I-9 compliant as they anticipate quickly onboarding employees after the pandemic-related closures are lifted.

Differentiating between furloughs and layoffs, knowing if a Form I-9 and E-Verify is still required, and enlisting professional compliance assistance will help determine restaurant owners’ path forward. Understanding now how to rehire laid off restaurant employees will expedite the process when it is time to put a plan into action.

 

Rehiring: Furloughs vs. Layoffs

Although it is not uncommon to hear furloughs and layoffs in the same sentence, the two terms are entirely different in meaning and implication.

  • Furloughs: A restaurant who furloughs workers is asking employees to essentially take an unpaid leave of absence. This is a temporary arrangement that is typically made in hopes of having an employee return to their job again in the not so distant future. In some cases, employees that are furloughed may even be able to retain some of their health benefits. For employers, the most important distinction is that furloughed workers generally do not have to go through a formal rehiring process.
  • Layoffs: Restaurants who are forced to lay off staff are basically releasing employees from that particular place of employment. Unlike being furloughed, the act of being laid off is considered a permanent termination of employment including benefits. Depending on the amount of time an employee is laid off, those employees that choose to return to an employer are more likely to be required to endure the formal rehiring process, at least in part.

 

Will a Form I-9 and E-Verify still be needed for restaurant rehires?

While the coronavirus pandemic is causing some small changes to parts of the overall hiring process, as of April 2, 2020 the Form I-9 is still a requirement to being I-9 compliant, and those companies already required to use the E-Verify system must continue to do so.

As the pandemic continues and uncertainty looms, it is critical that restaurants keep a close eye on any potential changes to the rehiring process in order to stay I-9 compliant and avoid possible punitive consequences.

To be fined or punished for non-compliance would likely be detrimental for a restaurant still getting back on its feet in a post-coronavirus pandemic world.

 

What To Do When Rehiring Employees Within Three Years Of The Employees Original Start Date

Restaurants who intend to simply rehire laid off employees may have the advantage of less steps to walk through if the employees are being rehired within three years of the date on their original Form I-9.

If an employee is rehired within three years of the date listed on their original Form I-9, the employer has the option of relying on the previous Form I-9 or having the employee complete a new one.

Employers who choose to rely on an employee’s previous Form I-9 (completed in the three years since the date on their original form), are still required to follow several additional guidelines:

  1. Employees that remain employment authorized as indicated on the original Form I-9 are not required to provide new documentation. In this case, employers must complete Section Three of the original Form I-9, sign, and date it.
  2. Employees whose employment authorization has expired must have their employment authorization re-verified via Section Three of the Form I-9. Employers should note that Section Three on the current version of the Form I-9 must be filled out. Filling out Section Three on older versions of the Form I-9 are not acceptable.
  3. Employees that have a Form I-9 with Section Three already completed must complete the same section on a new form and keep it attached to the existing Form I-9 paperwork.

 

Rehiring Employees After Three Years From The Employee’s Original Hire Date

Restaurants who are hoping to rehire employees that have an original Form I-9 date that is older than three years from today’s date, are required to complete a Form I-9.

In other words, an employer that is rehiring an employee that has worked for them for more than twenty years must still require that employee to fill out a new Form I-9.

 

How Lookout Services Can Help

Rehiring an employee at any point can be time consuming from a compliance standpoint. However, with the added urgency of reopening a restaurant post-coronavirus pandemic, the work involved to rehire and stay I-9 compliant can be somewhat overwhelming.

With more than twenty years of experience, Lookout Services is uniquely positioned to help restaurants meet the challenges of the rehiring process via digital I-9 compliance software which offers the following benefits:

  • A facilitated process that often saves time
  • A digital I-9 solution
  • Minimization of common Form I-9 errors including blank fields, incomplete fields, and missing signatures
  • Printable checklists for employers and employees
  • Time sensitive notices regarding multiple Form I-9 deadlines
  • Document tracking and archiving
  • Centralized reporting

 

If you are anticipating rehiring your restaurant employees post-coronavirus and require guidance on how to quickly onboard workers while still maintaining I-9 compliance, we hope you will consider enlisting Lookout Services as one of the newest members of your team.