What Is the Colorado Affirmation Form?

The Colorado affirmation form is required by Colorado state under the employee verification rules. All public and private companies doing business in Colorado must file this form for all workers hired between January 1, 2007 and August 10, 2016. The affirmation form should be completed in addition to the federal I-9 Form. The employee verification laws include all private and public companies located in and doing business in Colorado and is entirely separate from the I-9 Form.

Main Requirements for the Colorado Affirmation Form

Within 20 days of a new employee's hire date, two things must happen. Employers must complete an affirmation form and make and retain copies of worker identity and worker authorization documents.  

Properly Completing the Affirmation Form

When the Colorado affirmation form is signed, the company verifies all of the worker eligibility components are met for the employee listed. Companies must have finished affirmation forms for every Colorado worker hired between January 1, 2007 and August 10, 2016.

Starting on October 1, 2014, Colorado companies must complete the division affirmation form with the 09-01-014 revision date. The 09-01-14 version of the form is for Colorado workers hired between October 1, 2014 and October 1, 2017. The 09-01-14 version isn't acceptable for Colorado employees hired before September 1, 2014.

All affirmation forms must be finished within 20 days of a new employee's hire date. The employer, not the worker, is charged with completing the form on time. The form can be finished by a designated person or representative. The following items must be completed and readable:

  • Employee name
  • Date of hire (Month/Day/Year)
  • Employer name
  • Employer signature
  • Date of employer signature (Month/Day/Year)

Retaining the Affirmation Form

Employers must keep completed affirmation forms the entire time the worker is an employee. Employers must give copies of affirmation forms to the Colorado Division of Labor when asked; forms don't have to be submitted without request.

Failure to Properly Complete the Affirmation Form or Work Eligibility Documentation Requirements

All employers have to give complete and correct information on the affirmation forms. Any fraudulent or false information, intentionally provided, subjects a company to potentially hefty fines and/or severe penalties.

Employers must take the following precaution if forms aren't finished within 20 calendar days:

  • Do not finish a form for any affected worker
  • Do not backdate or falsify a form
  • Do not fill in false or fraudulent information
  • Do not make or save copies of worker identity documents or employment authorization paperwork

Asking for identity and employment authorization paperwork after 20 days is a violation of Colorado law and may also be against federal immigration laws.

The Repeal of Colorado's Employment Verification Law

Colorado's General Assembly ruled that the affirmation form yielded unnecessary burdens to companies because it was redundant to the I-9 Form required by the Federal Government and didn't add another layer of protection against illegal workers in Colorado.

House Bill 16-1114 sets to repeal the state rules that replicate the requirements of the I-9 Form. Colorado's legislature voted to pass House Bill 16-1114 and it was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 8, 2016.

Starting August 10, 2016 Colorado businesses don't have to finish the affirmation forms for new hires to prove eligibility to work in the United States. Colorado discontinued the rule causing employers to obtain and save employment verification forms for each new employee. There will no longer be any state laws that force companies to keep copies of eligibility and identity documents that support the I-9 verification process.

House Bill 16-1114 repealed Colorado Revised Statutes § 8-2-122 requiring companies to obtain Affirmation of Legal Work Status Forms from new employees within 20 days of hire and allowed penalties for non-compliance. With the repeal, Colorado lawmakers agreed that the imposed verification and documentation requirements caused an undue burden on companies.

Section 8-2-122 doesn't disappear entirely, as lawmakers kept the part that permits Colorado's Division of Labor to ask for documents from companies showing they're following I-9 verification requirements. The director may personally, or through designees, hold random audits of companies ensuring their compliance with I-9. Lawmakers stated that this law be enforced without discrimination.

What Is Form I-9?

Provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the I-9 Form is a federal necessity that verifies an employee's eligibility to work in the U.S. The I-9 must be completed by employers within three days of a new employee's hire date. The current form (OMB No. 1615-0047) should've expired on March 31, 2016, but is still being used and still effective as of August 2017.

The Newly Released Form I-9

A new version of Form I-9, created by the Department of Homeland Security, was sent out in July of 2017 and will start being valid on September 17, 2017. Companies must use the newest I-9 Form starting September 18, 2017; after that date, former versions are unacceptable.

The revised I-9 Forms include these changes:

  • List C changed to include the most current version of birth certificate or report issued by the Department of State
  • Changed the form's instructions leaving out "the end of" from the date of which the completed form is due
  • Changed the name of the Department of Justice's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER)

Important Things to Remember When Filling out a Form I-9

This form helps employers verify employee identity and authorization to work in the U.S. Each person hired in the United States must have a complete I-9 done and filed with their employer. An I-9 Form is for citizens and noncitizens and the worker and employer (or authorized designee) must finish it. On the form, workers must verify that they can work in the U.S.  and provide paperwork validating identity and authorization to work. Employers are responsible for inspecting documents presented by the worker, deciding if the documents appear legitimate, and confirming the employee's information on the I-9.

Special Instructions for Form I-9

Spanish versions of I-9 Forms are only accepted from Puerto Rican workers and companies and are found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. Spanish speakers in the other 50 states can used the Spanish I-9 Form for reference, but the form must be finished in English to meet federal requirements.

Downloading Instructions for Form I-9

Make sure you have the latest Adobe Reader before opening Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari web browsers that automatically prompt to open and save the I-9. You'll have to download the I-9 to Chrome.  

It's easier to complete an I-9 when you download the PDF to your computer by following these steps:

  1. Choose the link for the Form I-9 you want
  2. Click the arrow that shows up in the download box at the bottom of the screen
  3. Choose 'Show in folder' from the menu
  4. Open the form from your download folder

What Should Colorado Employers Do?

All new hires brought on before August 10, 2016 will still require Colorado employment verification requirements along with I-9 obligations. All new workers must fill out and sign section 1 of the I-9 on their first day of work and employers must fill out section 2 of the I-9 and inspect identity and authorization documents before three business days pass from the worker's hire date.

Federal laws don't make businesses keep copies of authorization and identity documents, but some companies retain them in case of a federal immigration audit.

Forms Signed by Employees Before August 10, 2016

Keep completing the affirmation form and making copies for all new workers until August 10, 2016. After that, employers can stop completing it, but should decide on keeping copies of I-9 identity and authorization paperwork after that date. Legal counsel will advise businesses on the pros and cons of keeping this paperwork on file.

Employers must keep affirmation forms filed for active workers hired between January 1, 2007 and August 10, 2016. It's not written in the law that the forms must be kept, but it's prudent since audits can happen. It's wise to hold onto affirmation forms until a worker's employment is terminated. This proves compliance to the law at the time the worker was hired.

Changes to state law do not affect federal retention requirements. I-9 Forms have to be retained for three years after a worker's hire date or one year after a worker's termination, whichever is later.

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