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While most workplaces are either closed or employees are working from home, some of those essential businesses still operating are seeing a surge in demand for their goods and services and are actually trying to hire new employees. Which begs the question, what do you do with the Form I-9?

Employers are required to verify a new hire’s identity using the Form I-9, a process which requires the physical examination of documentation within three days of a person being hired. With coronavirus policies limiting the ability of employees and employers to meet in person, the U.S. Department of Labor has temporarily revised its policies. According to an analysis by the law firm Jackson Lewis, employers may inspect Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, Section 2 documents over video link, fax, email, or other remote communication and obtain, inspect, and retain copies (rather than originals) of those documents until normal business operations resume.

“Even with the new flexibility, the three-day rule still applies — employers must conduct the remote inspections within three business days of the employee’s start date and retain the documentation provided,” attorneys Michael Neifach and Amy Peck write.

The policy remains in effect until May 18 or three business days after termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first. Similarly, employers still must create an E-verify account for new hires and note that case work is delayed because of COVID-19. E-Verify also will extend the timeframe for resolving Social Security Administration (SSA) Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs) because of SSA Office closures.