The Pennsylvania Senate approved legislation on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 that would require contractors and subcontractors to verify legal employment status for all employees working on public building projects.

Senate Bill 637, which passed 47-7, makes use of the federal E-Verify system, operated by the Department of Homeland Security, mandatory to confirm that all employees are eligible to work in the U.S.

Employers would be required to submit employment verification statements to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry prior to beginning work on any public contract.  The Secretary of Labor and Industry will provide the form of the verification.  Additionally, Contractors will be required to provide to the public entity with the verification statement before it can commence work for the public entity.  Any subcontractor will be required to provide a verification statement to the Contractor prior to commencing work on a public building project and the Contractor will provide a verification statement to the public entity for all subcontractors it uses or intends to use on the public building project.  The verification statements will contain a certification signed by the Contractor or Subcontractor, as the case may be, that the information in the verification is true and correct and that submission of false or misleading information shall subjection the person signing the verification to sanctions.

The following constitutes a violation of this provision:

  1. Employment of an employee on a public works project whose eligibility has not been verified through the federal E-Verify system.
  2. Use by a Contractor of a Subcontractor on a public works project prior to the submission by the Subcontractor of a verification statement.
  3. Commencement of work by a Subcontractor on a public works project prior to the submission by the subcontractor of the verification statement.
  4. Making a false statement or misrepresentation in a verification statement.

Penalties for violation of this provision can be a fine, cancellation of the contract and possible debarment or suspension for one year. A Contractor will be immune from sanctions if it in good faith relies upon the federal E-Verify system and was provided with incorrect information.

We will follow this legislation and advise of any amendments and if the Governor signs this legislation into law.