USCIS Launches I-9 Central on USCIS.gov

May 16, 2011

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently launched I-9 Central, a new online resource center dedicated to the most frequently accessed form on USCIS.gov: Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification. This free, easy-to-use website builds on recent employment-related enhancements by providing employers and employees simple one-click access to resources, tips and guidance to properly complete Form I-9 and better understand the Form I-9 process.

“I-9 Central is the latest in our ongoing efforts to better serve the 7.5 million employers who use Form I-9 every time they hire an employee,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “It provides critical information for all employers – whether they hire a single employee or hundreds – in an accessible, intuitive and comprehensive online format.”

The launch of I-9 Central follows the introduction of other important USCIS employment-related resources. These resources include E-Verify Self Check, a service launched in March that allows workers and job seekers in the United States to check their own employment eligibility status online, and an updated “Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274)” published earlier this year.

I-9 Central includes sections about employer and employee rights and responsibilities, step-by-step instructions for completing the form, and information on acceptable documents for establishing identity and employment authorization. I-9 Central also includes a discussion of common mistakes to avoid when completing the form, guidance on how to correct errors, and answers to employers’ recent questions about the Form I-9 process.


Keeping Track of Wages: The U.S. Department of Labor Has an App for That!

May 16, 2011

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of its first application for smartphones, a timesheet to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users conveniently can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. Glossary, contact information and materials about wage laws are easily accessible through links to the webpages of the department’s Wage and Hour Division.

Additionally, through the app, users will be able to add comments on any information related to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly and monthly format; and email the summary of work hours and gross pay as an attachment.

This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers’ records, workers now can keep their own records. This information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records.

“I am pleased that my department is able to leverage increasingly popular and available technology to ensure that workers receive the wages to which they are entitled,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.”

The free app is currently compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. The Labor Department will explore updates that could enable similar versions for other smartphone platforms, such as Android and BlackBerry, and other pay features not currently provided for, such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.


DOL Launches National Outreach Campaign to Protect Workers from Heat-Related Illnesses

May 2, 2011

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently announced a national outreach initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat and steps needed to prevent heat-related illnesses.

“If you’re working outdoors, you’re at risk for heat-related illnesses that can cause serious medical problems and even death,” said Secretary Solis. “But heat illness can be prevented. This Labor Department campaign will reach across the country with a very simple message – water, rest and shade.”

Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience heat illness, which often manifests as heat exhaustion. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which killed more than 30 workers last year.

OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additionally, a new webpage provides information and resources on heat illness – including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency – for workers and employers. The page is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.