Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! In today’s agricultural labor management environment the paperwork seems to be unending. Part of the documentation requirements of having employees is having an employee complete an I-9 form, which verifies the employees eligibility to work in the United States and is retained by an employer for as long as the individual works for the employer.

Guidance for Completing Form I-9

The confusion comes as to when you are able to do some “house cleaning” and throw the I-9 forms out for those employees that no longer work for you. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a handbook that provides some great resource information regarding the I-9 Forms along with full color examples of documentation for your review. This handbook entitled, Handbook for Employers – Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) is available online. The handbook states that once employment of a person has been terminated the I-9 Form must be “retained three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment is terminated, whichever is later”. The example worksheet below is also provided in the handbook (p.27) and helps you determine exactly when you are able to dispose of the I-9 Forms for a person once they have terminated their employment with you.

Form I-9 Retention Calculator

From Handbook for Employers – Guidance for Completing Form I-9, Figure 8.