On July 5, 2012, Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Corbett signed into law S.B. 637, requiring state public works contractors and subcontractors involved in projects of more than $25,000 to use E-Verify starting on January 1, 2013, or they will lose their right to contract with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
E-Verify is a free Internet-based system that is maintained and administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The system allows employers to input employee personal details and have that information compared to data from DHS and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. In approximately 98 percent of their submissions, employers will receive a positive answer confirming employment eligibility from the system within seconds. However, for the remaining approximately 2 percent of submissions with a discrepancy in the data, it may take two to four weeks for resolution. During this time period, employers are not permitted to hire or take any adverse employment actions against employees. DHS statistics indicate that more than half of those approximately 2 percent of employees will later be found not authorized to work in the United States.
Under S.B. 637, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services is required to create an E-Verify usage certification form—which all contractors, subcontractors and staffing companies providing services on public works projects will be required to sign under penalty of perjury—verifying that they have enrolled and are using the system for all new hires starting on January 1, 2013. Under the new law, providing a false certification is punished by a civil fine ranging from $250 to $1,000.