TEXT OF STORY
KAI RYSSDAL: There will be some changes to labor rules on the heels of Labor Day. Starting Tuesday, federal contractors are going to have to check a job applicant’s legal status before letting them begin work. The requirement to use a free online database known as E-Verify is part of an effort to keep undocumented workers off the government payroll.
Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler explains.
Jeff Tyler: E-Verify checks a person’s identity and citizenship against government databases. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls the system a burden for employers. But at least one corporation disagrees.
Charles Brimmer: It’s not a very time-consuming program.
Charles Brimmer is with the employment company, Manpower. On any given day, the firm employs about 400,000 people worldwide. Those in the U.S. are all checked using E-Verify.
Brimmer: It takes three to five seconds to get a result right back in the system about their eligibility to work in the United States.
And if Brimmer has problems:
Brimmer: The help desk for the government is great. I’ve called a variety of times and someone is on the phone within five or 10 seconds. I barely have to wait.
E-Verify can pose challenges for small businesses. Kim Carmichael is with Watson & Cochran, a cabinetmaker in Texas. She had started taking an online tutorial on how to use E-Verify.
Kim Carmichael: There’s all this information that you have to read. And you have to take courses and take tests and pass the tests. I spent about a day and a half and I wasn’t even half-way finished. So I just quit in the middle of the process and decided that we weren’t going to do it.
Carmichael could give up, because her company isn’t a government contractor. But that exemption may not last. Congress is considering legislation that would require all employers to use E-Verify.
I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.