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E-Verify, authorized by Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), is a web-based system through which employers may electronically confirm the employment eligibility of their employees. E-Verify is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Federal law requires every employer who hires an employee to complete Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification, for that individual. In the E-Verify process, employers who are enrolled enter information contained on Form I-9 into the E-Verify system. E-Verify then electronically compares that information to records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (US DHS) and SSA. The employer usually receives a response within a few seconds either confirming the employee’s employment eligibility or indicating that the employee needs to take further action for verification.
What is the Construction Industry Employee Verification Act?
The Construction Industry Employee Verification Act, or Act 75, was passed by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly to require employers in the construction industry to use the E-verify system when hiring new employees. Starting on the bill’s effective date of October 7, 2020, construction industry employers must verify all new hires through the E-Verify system. This requirement applies to sub-contractors at all tiers, as well as staffing agencies who supply workers to the construction industry.
When does Act 75 take effect?
Act 75 goes into effect on October 7, 2020.
What type of employees need to be verified?
Under Act 75, an employee is defined as “an individual who has entered into an employer-employee relationship with a construction industry employer or enters into a contract, subcontract or exchange with a construction industry employer to provide labor” within the construction industry.
While Act 75 only gives the department enforcement authority over construction industry employees, US DHS has further rules on participation in the E-Verify system and publishes informative webinars on their website
How is the construction industry defined?
Construction industry is defined as the industry which engages in the erection, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, modification, custom fabrication, building, assembling, site preparation and repair work or maintenance work done on real property or premises under a contract, including work for a public body or work paid for from public funds.
Who is a construction industry employer?
The Act defines a construction industry employer as an individual, entity, or organization that transacts business in Pennsylvania and employs at least one employee in Pennsylvania. Staffing agencies are considered a construction industry employer for any construction employees they may provide to a job site.
Further information about the E-Verify process and common questions can be found on the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS website.
Do I need to E-Verify my exsisting employees who were hired prior to October 7, 2020?
Act 75 does not require construction industry employers to verify any employee hired before October 7, 2020. Further information about the E-Verify process and common questions can be found on the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS website.
Who can I contact if I have questions about Act 75?
The Bureau of Labor Law Compliance within the Department of Labor & Industry is responsible for enforcing provisions of Act 75. However, the E-Verify process falls under federal authority, and the bureau is unable to answer questions concerning that process or system.
Who can file a complaint when violations of Act 75 are taking place?
Anyone. The bureau is making available an online complaint form and a complaint form that can be downloaded. The complaint form will be published on the bureau’s website on October 7, 2020.
Will the bureau accept anonymous complaints?
The bureau will not accept anonymous complaints due to the nature of its investigations. Additionally, a complaint that lacks sufficient information may not be investigated.
What information needs to be submitted to the bureau to initiate an investigation?
All questions on the bureau’s complaint form should be completed.
What happens if a complaint is submitted based on someone's race or ethnic background?
The bureau WILL NOT investigate any claim based on race, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Furthermore, an individual who knowingly provides materially false information on this complaint form shall be subject to punishment under 18 PA.C.S. § 4904.
What are the penalties for violating Act 75?
First violations of Act 75 will result in a warning and a requirement that all unauthorized workers be terminated. Second and subsequent violations will result in prosecution by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.
Employers who are found to have violated the Act a second or subsequent time may be put on probation for three years; and are required to file quarterly reports confirming the verification of all new hires. If the employer fails to comply with the terms of probation, the employer’s license(s) to do business can be suspended through the Attorney General until the employer complies. For repeat violators, the court can order suspension of licenses to do business for at least a year and up to permanent revocation.
Act 75 defines license to include articles of incorporation.
How can an employer demonstrate that unauthorized workers have been terminated?
Employers are required to provide written verification to the bureau that every unauthorized employee has been terminated within ten days of receiving a warning. Failure to do so will constitute a second violation and may result in legal action. The bureau also enforces the Minimum Wage Act and the Wage Payment and Collection Act. Failure to pay someone for work rendered would constitute a violation of these laws. Unauthorized employees should be paid for all work.
If I am unable to log into the E-Verify system, or have technical difficulties, what should I do?
The bureau has no authority or management over the E-Verify system. However, the E-Verify Contact Center is available to assist you with using E-Verify, password resets, assistance with cases and technical support. They can also answer your questions about E-Verify policies and procedures, Form I-9 and employment eligibility.
What documentation am I required to maintain to be compliant with Act 75?
As of October 7, 2020, a construction industry employer who hires an employee shall verify the employment eligibility of the employee through the E-Verify program and shall keep a record of the verification for the duration of the employee's employment or three years, whichever is longer. Staffing agencies are responsible for workers who are supplied to the construction industry.
After an E-Verify case is completed, E-Verify employers can print out a case details page to attach to the employee’s Form I-9 to show that the case was created. Employers may also view their case results in E-Verify or produce a report showing cases created. For a more detailed description of each report and instructions on how to create these reports, please refer to case report section in in the E-Verify User Manual (M-775) available at www.e-verify.gov
What happens when the bureau initiates an investigation?
Act 75 gives the bureau the authority to enter a place of business and inspect records. Once the bureau initiates an investigation, an investigator may visit a job site or a place of business to conduct interviews and inspect any relevant documents to determine compliance with the Act. An investigator may also send a letter to a construction industry employer requesting documents or a meeting to discuss alleged violations of the Act.
As a construction contractor, I hire my field employees through the local union or construction association. Does Act 75 require me to E-Verify these employees, or should the union or association E-Verify them since they can work for multiple contractors?
Act 75 places the responsibility to E-Verify on the employer who hires and pays an employee or who contracts with an individual for work. An employee’s verification is not transferable among different construction contractors. Every construction employer who hires an employee or contracts with an individual must perform a new E-Verify for that individual.
Does Act 75 require sole proprietors to use E-Verify on themselves?
Act 75 does not require sole proprietors to E Verify themselves.
However, any construction contractor who contracts with a sole proprietor is required to E-Verify the sole proprietor—regardless of whether they employ people or not.
Does Act 75’s requirements apply to landscaping contractors?
Yes, landscaping is work that is covered by Act 75.