Since 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (“IRCA”) requires all employers to complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 for all new hires to physically verify an employee’s identity and authorization to accept employment, within the first three (3) days of employment, and to retain the form for three (3) years after the date of employment, or one (1) year after the date of termination of employment, whichever occurs later.
On August 1, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) published a revised version of Form I-9. After October 31, 2023, all employers must use the latest version of Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all new hires, and/or for the reverification of expiring employment authorization of current employees (if applicable). After October 31, 2023, previous versions of Form I-9 will not be accepted, and failure to use the revised Form I-9 may result in penalties. A revised Spanish Form I-9 dated August 1, 2023 is available for use in Puerto Rico only. All employers should make sure to use the latest version of Form I-9, available at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
In addition, beginning on August 1, 2023, employers may remotely examine employees’ Form I-9 documents, provided they are enrolled in the E-Verify program.
Changes to the latest version of Form I-9 include:
• Reduced Sections 1 and 2 to a single sheet.
• Moved the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate Supplement A that employers can use when necessary. This supplement provides three areas for current and future preparers and translators to complete as needed. Employers may attach additional supplements as needed.
• Moved Section 3 Reverification and Rehire to a standalone Supplement B that employers can use as needed for rehire or reverification. This supplement provides four areas for current and subsequent reverifications. Employers may attach additional supplements as needed.
• Removed use of “alien authorized to work” in Section 1 and replaced it with “noncitizen authorized to work” and clarified the difference between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work.”
• Ensured the form can be filled out on tablets and mobile devices by downloading onto the device and opening in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader app.
• Removed certain features to ensure the form can be downloaded easily. This also removes the requirement to enter N/A in certain fields.
• Improved guidance to the Lists of Acceptable Documents to include some acceptable receipts, guidance, and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
• Added a checkbox for E-Verify employers to indicate when they have remotely examined Form I-9 documents.
On a separate note, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced that, effective July 31, 2023, COVID-19 related flexibilities for the remote inspection of employee documents would end. These flexibilities were originally announced in March 2020 and updated in March 2021. Employers must now complete in person physical document inspections for employees whose documents were inspected remotely during the temporary flexibility period by August 30, 2023. This announcement gives employers additional time to complete in-person physical inspection of identity and employment authorization documents and annotate the Form I-9 for this population. As discussed above, employers enrolled in the E-Verify program may prospectively use remote examination for I-9 documents as of August 1, 2023.
Please contact Mariel Y. Haack, Esq., at (787) 281-1951, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Edwin J. Seda- Fernández, Esq., (787) 281-1822, email@example.com, if you have any further questions regarding the revised Form I-9 or the required in-person document inspections for employees whose documents were inspected remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 11, 2023, at 4:30pm, Mariel Y. Haack, Shareholder of AMG’s Labor and Employment Department, will participate as a speaker at the 2023 Puerto Rico HotelierCon, sponsored by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Mariel will discuss how to approach mental health in the workplace from a legal perspective.
This Court’s decision is not final yet. According to some government spokespersons, including the Secretary of Labor and Human Resources of Puerto Rico, they are analyzing the legal grounds that support the decision and will determine if the best course of action is to appeal. However, given this swift action and decisive language used by the Court, in addition to the good track record of the Board in PROMESA cases, it is likely that the decision will be upheld. Moreover, the least that is needed at this moment is further confusion and instability from a government appeal.
AMG’s Labor and Employment Practice Team secured a win before the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals in a discrimination and retaliation case and a reversal of a penalty over an awarded bonus payment to an exempt employee.
headlines when it fined a political party in Puerto Rico in the amount of $30,000, in connection with a sexual and workplace harassment claim. Among other findings, the Office for Women’s Advocacy determined that the political organization in question had failed to have protocols and procedures to handle sexual harassment claims.
On June 20, 2022, the governor of Puerto Rico signed into law the long-awaited amendments to Law No. 4-2017, the Labor Transformation and Flexibility Law of 2017 (also known as the Labor Reform of 2017). Now, with the benefit of an opinion of the Secretary of Labor and Human Resources of Puerto Rico issued on June 28, 2022, and a presentation by such agency on June 30, 2022, we have a better view of the scope of Law No. 41-2022, which is effective on July 20, 2022. For micro businesses and PYMES (small and medium enterprises) as defined in Law No. 62-2014, the provisions of Law No. 41-2022 will be effective ninety (90) days after its approval.
On September 21st, 2021, the governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, signed into law the Puerto Rico Minimum Wage Act, Act 47-2021 (hereinafter the “Act”). When he made the announcement, Pierluisi expressed that, after more than 12 years without a raise to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, now through the PR Minimum Wage Act, on January 1st, 2022, the minimum wage salary in Puerto Rico will be raised to $8.50 per hour.
The new Chambers & Partners Global Practice Guide- Employment 2021 covers 52 jurisdictions. The Puerto Rico chapter of the guide, contributed by AMG, provides the latest legal information on the legislative initiatives to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, terms of employment, non-compete and non-solicitation clauses, data privacy law, foreign workers, the role of unions, and employee representative bodies, termination of employment, employment disputes and dispute resolution. It also discusses the latest trends and developments in the area of Employment Law in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico remains under a state of public health emergency first announced on March 12, 2020, in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
AMG’s Mariel Y. Haack and Edwin J. Seda-Fernández featured in Summer 2021 Edition of The In-House Lawyer Magazine.
Last week, Governor Pedro Pierluisi signed into law, Act 15-2021, which amends Act No. 42-2017, “Act to Manage the Study, Development and Research of Cannabis for Innovation, Applicable Standards and Limits”, to provide employment protections to registered and authorized medical cannabis patients by creating a protected category for these employees in their workplaces.
During the 2020 election campaign in Puerto Rico, several candidates ran on a platform that included amending the Labor Reform Act of 2017, Law No. 4 of January 26, 2017 (“Law No. 4-2017”). Accordingly, it should come to no surprise that in the opening 2021 legislation session, there is a flurry of bills in the House intended to amend or repeal Law No. 4-2017.
On August 7, 2020, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed into law House Bill 306 to prohibit workplace harassment (commonly referred to as “mobbing”).
The Complementary Act to Counter the Effects on Puerto Rico's Economy caused by the Covid-19 Emergency, signed by the Governor on June 14, 2020 (Act 57-2020), incorporates certain permanent and temporary tax measures
On June 15, 2020, in a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) held in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, that employers cannot take adverse employment actions against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.