Tips for Navigating the Newly Released Form I-9

I know there’s a new Form I-9 to verify eligibility to work in the United States. When do I need to start using it and what specific changes should I be paying attention to?

The new Form I-9 was released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) on August 1, 2023, and employers must begin using the new version no later than November 1, 2023. Note that there is no need to complete new forms for current employees simply because an updated form has been issued.

Important Changes

While there were more than a dozen changes made to the form and instructions, employers should pay particular attention to the following:

  • Some Fields Have Been Moved to Standalone Supplement Pages: The latest version of Form I-9 has been condensed down to one fillable page, with the lists of acceptable documents on a second page. The Preparer/Translator Certification section on the previous version was moved to a separate standalone “Supplement A” that employers can use when necessary, and the Reverification section (formerly Section 3) was moved to a separate standalone “Supplement B” that can be used for rehires and reverification of documents. Employers can simply attach these supplements when needed to the Form I-9 that was completed at the time of hire.
  • Fillable on Mobile DevicesForm I-9 can now be filled out on tablets and mobile devices by downloading it onto the device and opening it in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader app.
  • No More “N/A” in Blank Fields: In the past, employers were required to write “N/A” in most fields that were left blank, even those that were optional to complete such as an employee’s email address and phone number. Instructions for the new Form I-9 say that “employees must provide their current legal name, complete address, and date of birth” but that “if other fields do not apply, leave them blank.” Thus, employers should no longer put “N/A” in blank fields.
  • Remote Inspection Checkbox: A checkbox was added so that employers who use E-Verify can indicate whether they have remotely examined Form I-9 documents. Note that remote inspection is now permitted only for employers who use E-Verify
  • Expired Documents May Not Actually Be Expired: It has always been the case that some employment authorization documents that appear on their face to be expired may actually have been extended by the issuing authority — even though no new card is issued to the individual. For example, the government may issue an automatic extension and provide notice of extensions via publication in the Federal Register. USCIS has printed a reminder of this on the new Form I-9, noting: “All documents containing an expiration date must be unexpired” followed by “Documents extended by the issuing authority are considered unexpired.” Employers can learn more about these extensions on the I-9 Central website.
  • “Acceptable Receipts” List: New to the Form I-9 is a helpful reminder of the “receipt rule” which allows employers to take certain receipts as acceptable stand-ins for a short time in place of lost or damaged documents. Acceptable receipts are now listed at the bottom of each column of documents.

More Information

USCIS has published a list of all changes to the Form I-9 and instructions at Form I-9 Summary of Changes Fact Sheet (

Ellen Savage, CalChamber HR Watchdog

California Establishes New Leave for Reproductive Loss
On Oct. 11, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law allowing for up to five days of time off work for reproductive-related losses.

Senate Bill 848 makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant an eligible employee’s request to take up to five days of unpaid leave following a reproductive loss event.

Previously, California law required employers to provide bereavement leave upon the death of an employee’s family member. Reproductive-related losses, however, largely remained unaddressed. Such losses are a common occurrence with more than 1 in 4 pregnancies resulting in miscarriage, and they may result in post-traumatic stress disorder (with almost 1 in 3 women developing pos-traumatic stress disorder after a miscarriage).

What Does this New Leave Require?

SB 848 acts as a subset of California’s bereavement leave law and increases an employee’s leave entitlements for a reproductive loss event, which is defined as “the day or, for a multiple-day event, the final day of a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction.” Covered employers must provide up to five days of leave for reproductive loss events.

The law limits the amount of reproductive loss leave to a maximum of 20 days within a 12-month period.  Thus, although an employee may be subject to multiple reproductive loss events in a 12-month period, an employer is not required to provide more than 20 days of reproductive loss leave.

Like many other California leave laws, SB 848 prohibits employers from retaliating against any employee for requesting or taking leave for a reproductive loss.

California employers with five or more employees are covered under the law. Only employees who have worked for the employer for at least 30 days are eligible for reproductive loss leave.

Subject to narrow exceptions when an employee takes applicable leave under state or federal law, eligible employees must take the leave within three months of the event triggering the leave (i.e., reproductive loss events), but need not be taken on consecutive days.

Leave under the statute is unpaid, unless the employer has an existing policy requiring paid leave. Eligible employees may choose to use any accrued and available paid sick leave or other paid time off for reproductive loss leave.

SB 848 does not contain any provision permitting employers to request any documentation in connection with reproductive loss leave.

In light of this new leave entitlement, steps that a California employer may wish to take include:

  • Updating their employee handbooks and/or leave policies to incorporate this new leave entitlement.
  • Training management, supervisors, and HR on this new leave law.
  • Determining whether reproductive loss leave will be paid pursuant to any existing employer-provided leaves or policies.
Rick Reyes, Joy C. Rosenquist, and Adam Fiss, SHRM

Food for Thought:
Planning Inclusive Menus for Holiday Staff Gatherings

Tis the season for holiday parties in the workplace.

Planning what food to serve at employee gatherings can be equal parts fun and stressful. About 1 in 10 Americans have food allergies, according to Food Allergy Research & Education. Gallup’s latest Consumption Habits poll reveals 4 percent of Americans say they are vegetarian and 1 percent say they are vegan, in terms of their eating preferences. It’s also essential to consider individuals with religious dietary restrictions.

Ultimately, employers want to host an event everyone enjoys. Food plays a central role in achieving that goal. Two certified meeting planners offer tips HR leaders can consider to ensure there’s something on the menu for everyone, whether it’s a winter celebration or midyear staff meeting.

The Bigger Picture

Planning an inclusive menu means adopting 360-degree thinking, according to Heidi Longton, director of convention and events at the New York State School Boards Association. And you can’t do that by yourself. It requires conversations, informal surveys and research.

“Ask a Muslim, a diabetic, a celiac, a dairy-free, a vegan and an alcoholic in recovery what experiences they’ve had at food and beverage events,” she said. “It will be eye-opening.”

Start a “watercooler chat” on your organization’s platform of choice to ask staff about how they celebrate holidays. The responses can provide insight into dietary restrictions or preferences, Longton noted. Planning an office potluck and seeing what employees bring to share is another way to keep up with employees’ food needs.

Directly asking employees in a survey or on the RSVP form is the most direct method for learning this information. Many people are comfortable sharing their food preferences and restrictions, but a confidential questionnaire can capture input from those who prefer to keep it private.

Menu Planning Tips

When Longton begins menu planning, she starts with a vegan offering. In most cases, this provides gluten-free options and always meets dairy-free needs.

“I like to see all guests eating the same item but [am] prepared for their dietary restriction,” she said. “Many times, the specialty orders are a different item and are not presented with the same energy that went into the main items. This screams exclusion.”

Food stations with dedicated utensils for toppings are a popular option for meeting varying dietary needs. For example, a salad bar or baked potato bar with toppings and dressings offered on the side allows individuals to choose items that match their needs and preferences.

Susan Baker,  director of sales at the Saratoga Springs City Center, often encourages groups to offer a Saratoga-style potato chip station with a variety of nacho-like toppings. Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is the self-proclaimed birthplace of flash-fried potato chips. This food option offers flexibility and celebrates local cuisine, especially when employees travel in from remote locations.

“People enjoy something that is a little bit different,” Baker said. “I also think anytime you can help people know where they are at an event is always a nice thing.”

For desserts, fruit tends to be the fallback for those who can’t eat gluten or dairy. Again, though, it appears to be an afterthought, Longton said. Usually, the guest must wait for the dish and by the time it arrives, the rest of the table has finished dessert.

“If it has to be fruit, I like to see it skewered or fanned for a great presentation,” Longton said.

Room For Improvement

When it comes to beverages, there is still much work to do. Hosted bars, with beer, wine and soda, do control costs but don’t leave much room for inclusivity.

Longton recommends requesting a nonalcoholic beer or wine and sparkling or flavored waters. If serving mixed drinks, include two or three mocktail choices.

“Or theme it,” she said. “If it is a summer event, serve iced tea and lemonade—a spiked and unspiked version.”

Food For Thought

Leaders of small teams often opt for restaurants over catered events. While some dining establishments are prepared to make accommodations, this is not universally the case and requires research to determine if a particular restaurant is fit for the group.

“It’s important to recognize that restaurants aren’t always able to accommodate some of the religious restrictions,” Baker said. “If you’re going to a restaurant, a kosher meal may not be an option in that kitchen.”

It’s also not uncommon for staff without dietary restrictions to eat some of the same items as colleagues who do.

“If your vegetarian option is a popular one, like tomato and mozzarella wraps, you will have nonvegetarians opt for this over the regular items, and then when the vegetarians get there, they have nothing to eat,” Longton said. “We manage vegetarians by holding back these options and present on request only.” 

Katie Navarra, SHRM