Pennsylvania Mandates E-Verify for State Public Works Contractors
July 10, 2012
Joining other states such as Arizona, North Carolina and Missouri that have developed their own laws on E-Verify, Pennsylvania adopted a new law on July 5 mandating that all state public works contractors and subcontractors enroll in and use the federal E-Verify system effective January 1, 2013. The law, called the Public Works Employment Verification Act, passed almost unanimously in both the state Senate and House. As a consequence, employers with Pennsylvania worksites need to evaluate whether they fall within the law's parameters. "Public work" is defined by state law as "construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration and/or repair work other than maintenance work, done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of the funds of a public body where the estimated cost of the total project is in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), but shall not include work performed under a rehabilitation or manpower training program." The most stringent penalty, for willful violators, is debarment from state public works contracts for up to three years. The law's passage makes it more likely that mandatory E-Verify eventually will extend to all employers in Pennsylvania. For now, employers impacted by the new law are urged to keep careful records of their compliance come January 1, in case they are selected for audit.