“Our Website Is Down” Does Not Suspend Compliance

Tea_chaiThe economy being what it is, a young relative of mine was thrilled to get a job in the coffee bar of a local bookstore. What’s more, they were short-handed and promised her a lot of hours. However, their new-employee enrollment process, which was internet based, was not functioning, so she could not submit her W-4 and I-9 forms on-line. Her manager first told her that she could start work but that her paycheck might be delayed if the W-4 could not be entered into the payroll system, and then told her that she could not start because she did not submit the I-9. The manager was wrong on both counts.

Connecticut Statute Section 31-71b requires an employee to be paid not more than eight days after the close of the payroll period. The employer does not have the choice of delaying a paycheck because the website is down. (Note however that the new employee can choose to give tacit agreement by refraining from making an unpaid wage claim to the Department of Labor.)

On the other hand, the employer is only required to have a completed I-9 on file at the work site. The I-9 derives from the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which pre-dates internet enrollment. All the manager had to do was to print out an I-9, have it completed and put it in a drawer. The new employee could then start work, and the internet-based process could catch up later.

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