[author: Melissa A. Silver, XpertHR Legal Editor]
On July 5, 2012, the Governor of Pennsylvania signed into law the Public Works Verification Act (Act), which takes effect January 1, 2013. The Act requires contractors and subcontractors on public works projects with an estimated cost that exceeds $25,000 paid in whole or in part from a public body, to verify that their workers are authorized to work in the US by using E-Verify. E-Verify is a free web-based program that allows participating employers to electronically verify the information provided by employees on the Form I-9.
If a public works contractor or subcontractor fails to comply with the Act it will be subject to the following sanctions:
First Violation: Warning letter detailing the violation, which will be posted on the Department of General Services of Pennsylvania's website.
Second Violation: Violators will be debarred from public work for 30 days.
Third Violation: Violators will be debarred from public work for not less than 180 days and not more than one year.
If a court finds that there was a willful violation, the public works contractor or subcontractor can be debarred from public work for three years. Further, if a public works contractor or subcontractor fails to provide the verification form or makes a false statement or material misrepresentation with respect to completing the form it will be subject to a civil penalty of at least $250, but not more than $1,000 for each violation.
Therefore, contractors and subcontractors on public works projects should take all steps necessary prior to the effective date to ensure compliance with the Act.
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