About a month ago, we started hearing reports of ginners throughout the Cotton Belt receiving letters from the Social Security Administration. These letters state that there are a certain number of employees in their company whose data is not matching up with the SSA system. The SSA has sent out similar letters in the past, but it has been 10 years or so.
One difference in these new letters is that they do not give you the names that are no match, but only how many workers are affected. The SSA suggests you log into their Employer Report Status within Business Services Online system. If you log into this system, you can see which workers are affected, but you have to register with the SSA to get a login.
You are not required to log into the system. You can review your records manually and possibly figure out which ones are no match on your own. If you don’t want to do this and would rather get the names from SSA instead, you must either call them directly or log into the system.
Response To SSA Letter Is Important
It is important to understand that having a mismatch is no indication that the worker is not eligible to be working in the United States, and you should not use this letter as a reason to review whether a worker has legal work status.
On the other hand, you should not ignore the letter as Immigration and Customs Enforcement could use your lack of response to the letter against you. In other words, the receipt of this letter puts employers in a tough place. If you did receive a letter, you are in good company. SSA has sent out about 575,000 of them, according to reports.
Some common causes of a no match could include things like transposing a Social Security Number from the Social Security Card into your payroll system or misspelling a name in the payroll system. These types of errors should be corrected using the W-2C form.
In other instances, the source of the errors will not be clear. If you are unable to determine why a name is not matching up in the SSA system, you should notify the employee of the issue and give them a chance to get it sorted out.
Your employees should understand that it is in their interest to get their no match sorted out. You are paying into the system for that employee, but the employee is not getting credit for those payments if the SSA cannot match the payment to a person in their system.
It is important not to ignore these letters. If you receive an ICE inspection in the future, the inspectors may check to see how you responded to these letters and potentially use your lack of response against you. The letters typically contain a 60-day deadline for response.
Seek Advice Before Taking Action
If you have an employee who will not or cannot get their no match taken care of, you are put in a delicate position. Talk to your association or your attorney before taking any action on this issue. How you handle the situation is very important.
In addition, seek your association or counsel’s advice if you find a worker who is not currently working for you but is likely to return in the future. It is important to handle these returning employees properly as well. The attorneys at Fisher Fillips have written an excellent article on this issue. It is available at https://bit.ly/2VRwxhB.
There has been a lot more information published on this issue, and we will not attempt to go through all the details in this article. If you have received a letter from the SSA, be sure to check with your ginners’ association right away to get additional details on how best to respond to it.
J. Kelley Green, TCGA director of technical services, contributed this article. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCGGA Hosts 2019 Ginners School
The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association recently hosted the 2019 Annual Ginners School in Corcoran. There were more than 100 attendees, including associate members who participated. Ginners received a wide variety of training from various industry representatives, including AgSafe, Jorgensen, J.G. Boswell, the Western Agricultural Processors Association, D&D Resources and Lummus Corp.
Ginners session topics included bale handling safety, electrical troubleshooting, fire prevention, hydraulics safety, sexual harassment for supervisors training, as well as the annual safety contest. Participants were tested on topics including safe operational procedures of tools, fire suppression and related equipment, fall protection, lock out tag out as well as gin-specific questions relating to proper operation set up. Here are this year’s safety contest winners:
• Eduardo Oregel – J.G. Boswell
• Daniel Moore – Dos Palos Coop
• Estevan Hernandez – J.G. Boswell
• Javier Ceja – J.G. Boswell
• Joe Velasquez – J.G. Boswell
• Fernando Diaz – J.G. Boswell
• Antonio Arreguin – Olam Cotton
• Javier Cervantes – J.G. Boswell
• Elizabeth Orozco – J.G. Boswell
• Daniel Medrano – County Line Gin Inc.
Gin managers heard updates from The Saqui Law Group — a division of Dowling Aaron — on hot topics in labor law and took part in the newly mandated two-hour sexual harassment for supervisors training. The association would like to thank all of the sponsors for helping make the event possible. It also thanks the gins and the ginning members who were in attendance.
The California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association contributed this information.