Florida Enacts Mandatory E-Verify Law for Public Employers and Contractors

Florida enacted a new law making the use of E-Verify mandatory for all government employers and certain private employers effective January 1, 2021.

On June 30, 2020, Florida passed a mandatory E-Verify statute. The new legislation will require all public employers, local school districts, public universities/colleges, and state and local agencies, including their private contractors, to use E-Verify. E-Verify is a federal electronic database that helps employers confirm against federal databases that the documentation provided by the new hires to establish lawful employment eligibility are valid.

Starting January 1, 2021, every public employer, contractor, and subcontractor in Florida must enroll in and use the E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of all new employees. No public contract can be entered into without an E-Verify certificate. All subcontractors working on a public contract must provide the contractor with an affidavit (to be retained by the contractor for the duration of the contract) that states the subcontractor does not employ, contract with, or subcontract with unauthorized aliens. Contractors must be provided with an affidavit for all public projects.

Private employers are not required to use E-Verify unless they have a contract with a public employer, or they apply for taxpayer-funded incentives through the state Department of Economic Opportunity. Any private employer who does not use E-Verify must also maintain copies of the documents used to complete the Form I-9 for three years (this is optional under federal law).

The new legislation does not change the requirement that all employers must still complete and maintain "I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification" forms for the duration of employment, and for at least one year from the date the employee is terminated or three years from hire (whichever is later under the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986).

It is recommended that Florida public employers and those bidding on public contracts should comply with the new legislation by updating their onboarding and new hire practices. Failure to comply with the law could result in suspension or termination of business licenses. Employers should also periodically audit their employment verification records to ensure they have been completed fully and properly.


Posted: July 17, 2020

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