Changes to Form I-9 and FMLA affect employers

In March, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a new Form I-9 for employment eligibility verification. Form I-9 has been required documentation for all newly hired employees since November 1986.  However, the new form is dramatically different than its predecessors.

This article focuses on Form I-9 changes and what employers must do to remain in compliance with current work authorization laws. Employers should have begun using this form no later than May 7.

The first page of the new I-9 is completed by the newly hired employee or the candidate after a job offer has been made and accepted. Section 1 still contains the same information although some of the terms have been changed. The list of acceptable documents also has changed.

For instance, “maiden name” has been replaced with “other names used (if any).” Until this new language is widely understood, employers should make sure to explain to those completing the form that a maiden name should be written in this area. 

Another change is the expansion of the section detailing the status of the individual. The employee will need to provide additional information if his/her status is under a Form I-94 admission.

The employer completes the second page. The employee has three days from the date he/she completed the form to bring in proof of identity and eligibility for work. The employer still must complete the form and not simply attach copies of documents to the form. The employer still must physically inspect the documents presented and determine if they appear to be authentic. The employer still must complete the certification portion of the Form I-9, including filling in the employees hire date.

There are also new items in the employer’s section. The employer now must write in the name of the employee (copied from Section 1). The employer may have more information to complete if the employee provides an A-list document that requires support from another document.  

This form is available online and your company’s name, address, etc. can be filled out one time and saved as a PDF on your computer which will cut down a bit on completion time. There also is an updated M-274, the handbook for employer’s for completing Form I-9.

FMLA changes

There are changes to Family and Medical Leave Act and two of them will affect all employers while others are focused mainly on the airlines industry.

The significant change relates to the military caregiver provisions. It has been expanded to include veterans. Under the old provisions, family members of currently active military personnel were covered but family members of veterans were not.

According to the Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet: “Military caregiver leave allows an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or ‘next of kin’ of a covered veteran with a serious injury or illness to take up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a ‘single 12-month period’ to provide care for the veteran.

A veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness is a covered veteran if he or she:

• Was a member of the armed forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves)

• Was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable

• Wwas discharged within the five-year period before the eligible employee first takes FMLA military caregiver leave to care for him or her. For a veteran who was discharged prior to March 8, 2013, the effective date of the FMLA Final Rule, the period between Oct. 28, 2009, and March 8, 2013, will not count towards the determination of the five-year period.

The other change is a new FMLA poster was issued in February 2013 and should be displayed along with other labor law posters.

If you would like the entire fact sheet regarding this expanded FMLA coverage, please let me know. Also, please make a note to make this change to your handbook next time it is revised.  The Form I-9, M-274 handbook and required FMLA poster can be downloaded from at no cost.

• Karla Dobbeck is president of Human Resource Techniques Inc. Call 847-289-4504, or email

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