So first off, there is almost no connection between the love we might express on Valentine's Day and I-9 forms. If any of you say I-9 form and love in the same breath, your sanity will surely be questioned; however, if we talk about throwing out old I-9 forms, we might be able to insert I-9 and love into the same sentence. If you are not destroying I-9 forms for former employees, it is time to consider your I-9 retention practices.
As all of you know, employers are required to complete and maintain I-9 forms and supporting documents for each employee. In conducting audits and visiting with HR teams, the issue of maintaining (retaining I-9 forms) is an area where employers tend to err. It seems that a lot of employers maintain I-9 forms forever when there is no requirement to do so. The I-9 retention rules are fairly straight forward. An employer is required to retain an I-9 form for any current employee. Employers are also required to maintain I-9 forms for a minimum of three years. Once the employee terminates employment with the company, the I-9 must be retained for at least one year following termination. While a little convoluted, the rule is fairly simple. The I-9 must be retained for at least three years and for at least one year following an employee's termination of employment. Here are a couple of examples to help clarify:
Employee 1 starts work on August 1, 2007 and remains employed today. Since the employee is a current employee we continue to retain the I-9.
Employee 2 starts work on August 1, 2007 and terminates employment of August 1, 2010. The I-9 is retained until August 1, 2011, which is at least three years from start date and one year following the termination of employment.
Employee 3 starts work on August 1, 2007 and terminates employment on August 1, 2008. The I-9 is retained until August 1, 2010, which is the three year minimum period and at least one year following the termination of employment.