Florida Statute 448.095:
Employment eligibility

Several states have implemented state-specific E-Verify mandates including Florida. Beginning January 1, 2021, every public employer, contractor, and subcontractor in Florida must register with and use the E-Verify system to verify the work authorization status of all newly hired employees.

F.S. 448.095 makes the use of the web-based E-Verify system, regulated by the Department of Homeland Security, mandatory for all government and public employers.

Which employers are affected?

Pursuant to that statute, every public employer, contractor and subcontractor in the state of Florida is required to enroll in and use the E-Verify system to verify the identity and confirm the eligibility of all new employees. Regarding F.S. 448.095, a contractor is a person or entity that has entered into or is attempting to enter into a contract with a public employer to provide labor, supplies, or services to the public employer in exchange for salary, wages, or other remuneration.  Qualifying employers include any state, regional, county, local or municipal government, public school, community college, or state university.

No public contract can be entered into without an E-Verify certificate.  Any subcontractor working on a public contract must provide the contractor with an affidavit, to be retained by the contractor for the duration of the contract, stating that the subcontractor does not employ, contract with or subcontract with unauthorized aliens.  This process is required for all public projects.

Private employers

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

Affected employers should review their hiring process and internal practices at both the state and federal level to ensure compliance.

They can also reach out to labor and employment counsel, Derek Usman at the Usman Firm. He can be reached at (813) 377-1197.

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