IMPLEMENTATION OF THE E-VERIFY REQUIREMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN
President George Bush issued Executive Order 12989 on June 6, 2008 directing federal agencies to require that federal contractors agree to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees. The federal regulations (48CFR Parts 2, 22 and 52) issued in final form on November 14, 2008 delineate responsibilities of federal contractors.
Essentially the Federal Government wants to ensure that federal contractors have a legal workforce. The effective date of the system, called E-Verify, is January 15, 2009.
Higher Education is specifically mentioned in the regulations as being required to only verify the workers who are paid from a federal contract. Employees paid from indirect costs associated with the contract are not covered. The regulations do not cover grants or federal cooperative agreements. Current employees must be verified within 30 days after January 15, 2009. New employees must be verified within three days of hire.
The regulations indicate that a “prime” federal contract over $100,000 or longer than 120 days require E-verification. Federal pass through money over $3,000 is also covered. This regulation, when required, will be included in the terms and conditions of the contract. Questions about covered contracts should be directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs (402-472-3171).
The regulations require that when a new employee is hired to work on a covered federal contract, or if an existing employee’s FTE is transferred to a federal contract, the employer must E-verify their status within three days of hire. If the employee is confirmed as legal, a notice is given to the employer with a verification number and the result from the E-Verify query.
If the worker cannot be verified, the Social Security Administration sends a “TENTATIVE NON- CONFIRMATION” notice to the employer. The employee must then indicate on the notice whether they contest the findings, after which the employer and employee sign the notice.
If the worker decides to contest the tentative non-confirmation, the employer must print a second notice generated by the E-Verify system called a “referral letter,” which contains information about resolving the non-confirmation as well as contact information for the appropriate federal agency.
The worker has eight federal workdays to visit a Social Security Administration office or call the USCIS to resolve the discrepancy. Employers are prohibited from taking any adverse employment action against the worker for these eight days. If the worker fails to contest the non-confirmation or if the SSA or USCIS is unable to resolve the discrepancy, the employer will receive a notice of final non-confirmation and the worker’s employment may be ended.
IMPLICATIONS FOR UNL
Currently UNL has approximately 55 federal contracts and 221 employees working on these contracts. All of these current employees must be E-verified and any new employees hired after January 15, 2009 to work on any qualified federal contract will be required to be E-Verified.
Additionally, any new federal contract awards signed by UNL after January 15, 2009 will contain a provision that UNL must agree to use the E-Verify system for qualified federal contracts.
No retroactive cost transfers will be permitted on these federal contracts in order to assure UNL’s compliance with E-Verify.
- If a new federal contract is signed by UNL, the Office of Sponsored Programs will notify the unit of the award and the need to E-Verify employees working under the new federal contract.
- UNL Human Resources will E-Verify the federal contract existing employees by the required time. After January 15, 2009 any UNL unit that hires an employee to work directly on a qualified federal contract, or shifts the funding source of an existing employee to be on the federal contract, will be required to fax a copy of the employee’s I-9 Form to UNL Human Resources Employment Section, fax number 472-0286-WITHIN 2 DAYS of the employees start date working on the federal contract. In cases of existing employees shifting to a federal grant, UNL should send the employee’s name, social security number, and birth date to the Employment Section, who will use the information to E-Verify the employee. Because the E-Verify regulations require authorization within three days of hire, post dating appointments or funding changes of employees to federal contracts will not be allowed.
- A cover sheet should accompany the I-9 explaining that the I-9 form is for a federal contract employee. If the UNL unit has questions as to whether or not an employee is covered under the E-Verify system, they should call their grant specialist in the Office of Sponsored Programs. (A listing of grant specialist assignments can be found at: http://research.unl.edu/sp1/staff.shtml.
- The UNL unit should process the hiring of the employee the same way as they would for any other employee. The original I-9 form should be processed with the PAF or sent to the appropriate Payroll Office for their use.
- Once the I-9 fax arrives, UNL Human Resources will E-verify the employee using the process listed above, under “background.” Once a final determination has been made UNL HR will scan the faxed I-9, plus any E-Verify documentation into the SAP records for the employee.
- The federal contract employee will have a scanned copy of their I-9 form with an E-Verify authorization number on it plus any E-Verify documentation located in their SAP file.
- After scanning the appropriate E-Verify information UNL HR will shred the paper documentation.
COST TO UNL
Costs will be fax costs and time costs of the UNL unit to fax the I-9 to UNL Human Resources. The majority of costs will be borne by UNL Human Resources in terms of time in processing the E-Verification.
Questions about the E-verify process can be directed to the UNL Human Resources Unit at 472-2120.