SHRM CEO Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Social Security

For Immediate Release

May 6, 2008
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HR Professionals Spearhead Effort in Support of “New Employee Verification Act

Alexandria, Va. The world’s largest association devoted to human resource management today led a coalition of business leaders and HR professionals to endorse the “New Employee Verification Act.” In testimony today before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, Sue Meisinger, President and CEO of SHRM urged legislators to recognize that the current employment verification system is in need of real reform.

Known as “The New Employee Verification Act (NEVA),” the legislation is intended to prevent unauthorized work in the United States by requiring verification of all new hires through the use of an electronic, reliable and more secure system than currently exists.

“It is time to go beyond E-Verify and to provide employers the option of enrolling in a more secure system,” said Susan R. Meisinger, President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “That is why we have endorsed the New Employee Verification Act (NEVA) as it offers a far superior alternative.”

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security hearing addressed the current and proposed employment eligibility verification systems and their impact on the Social Security Administration. In her testimony, Meisinger urged members of this Subcommittee to resist efforts to mandate the use of the federal employment verification system known as “E-Verify.”

“Employers need the right tools to verify a legal workforce,” said Meisinger. “We believe employers are entitled to a quick, unambiguous, and accurate answer from the government to the query whether an employee is authorized to accept an offer of employment. Unfortunately, mandating E-Verify without change will not meet this need, and may make the challenges more difficult for reputable employers and legal employees.”

According to SHRM’s 2006 Access to Human Capital and Employment Verification survey, 60 percent of responding HR professionals indicated that they continue to experience problems with the verification requirements of IRCA 20 years after its enactment.

The legislation also would create a voluntary biometrics option that employers could choose to use in the verification process. This system would include a standard background check and the collection of a “biometric” characteristic — such as a thumbprint — to secure an employee’s identity and prevent the illegal use a Social Security number, stolen or fraudulently-obtained drivers’ license, or altered identification documents.

“It’s easy to talk tough about illegal immigration; it’s more important to do something that will make a real difference,” said Meisinger. “This legislation is what’s needed, and employers and employees alike will be grateful for it.”

If adequately funded, the new system could eradicate virtually all unauthorized employment. It will also eliminate employment discrimination by taking the subjectivity out of the verification process.

For more information on SHRM’s position, visit: http://www.shrm.org/government For interviews to discuss SHRM’s workplace and legislative priorities, please contact Media Affairs at (703) 535-6273 or (703) 535-6072.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org.

About the Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce

The Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce (www.legal-workforce.org) represents human resource professionals in thousands of small and large U.S. employers representing every sector of the American economy. The HR Initiative and its members are seeking to improve the current process of employment verification by creating a secure, efficient and reliable system that will ensure a legal workforce and help prevent unauthorized employment, a root cause of illegal immigration.

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