Signed into law by Florida Governor DeSantis on May 10, 2023, SB 1718 will impact many private Florida employers, who will be required to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify System for their onboarding process by July 1, 2023. Despite the new requirement, employers are still required to complete an I-9 form within three days of a new hire’s start date.
E-Verify, the federal government’s digital verification system, is a method of employment verification used to verify the accuracy of employee information and whether the employee is authorized to work in the United States.
Relevant takeaways for SB 1718:
- Who Is Impacted And When
- Beginning July 1, 2023, employers with twenty-five (25) or more employees will be required to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify System for new employees. Florida laws already mandate that the E-Verify system is to be used for public employers and for private employers contracting with state and local governments, but the new law will expand impacted employers to include all those with at least 25 employees (including part-time employees in permanent positions).
- Beginning on July 1, 2024, employers are subject to penalties imposed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for noncompliance. Employers who knowingly employ unauthorized immigrants will face severe penalties, including quarterly reporting and suspension or revocation of licenses. Among other things, employers who are found by the DEO to have failed to register and use the E-Verify System three times will face a daily fine of $1,000, with the first violation resulting in a one-year probationary period. Employers will have 30 days to cure noncompliance after receiving a notice of non-compliance from the DEO.
- Record Retention Requirements
- For at least three years, the employer must retain a copy of the documentation, as well as any official verification generated, if applicable.
- Annual Certification Required
- Each employer that is required to use the E-Verify system must certify compliance on its first return when making contributions to or reimbursing the state's unemployment compensation or reemployment assistance system. An employer that voluntarily uses the E-Verify system may make such a certification on its first return each calendar year in order to document such use.
This is an important law with serious repercussions if it is not followed.