How should an employer record and verify the identity of its employees?

Identify an employee

Everyone must be able to identify themselves with a valid ID, including in the workplace. As an employer you are obliged to check the identity of your employees. Before the employee enters employment, you check the original identification document. You keep a copy of it in your records. When the identity document of an employee expires, you do not have to make a new copy.

Verification of employee identity by employer

For you as an employer, the identification obligation consists of 3 parts:

  1. Verification requirement: you must verify the identity of employees upon commencement of employment for authenticity and validity.
  2. Retention obligation: you must keep a copy of the identity papers of all employees you hire.
  3. Duty of care: you must give your employees the opportunity to meet their duty of identification in the event of an inspection. Your employees must also carry a valid identity document with them during work. You must point this out to your employees. This applies to people directly employed by you, but also to hired workers.

Duty to verify valid identification

When hiring a new employee you must ask for a valid identity document. The employee must then show the original document. For example, a passport, an identity card or an alien’s document.

When checking identity documents, you must pay attention to:

  • The photo on the passport: does it correspond to the person standing in front of you?
  • Characteristics: are the physical characteristics such as height and age correct?
  • Signature: have the employee visibly sign the document for verification purposes.
  • Nationality: is the nationality stated? The identification requirement also applies to foreign employees.
  • Validity of the document: has the expiration date not yet passed?

The nationality is not stated on a driver’s license or on a statement from the tax authorities with a social security number or a citizen service number. Therefore these are not valid proofs of identity for the verification requirement.

Retention obligation of proof of identity

You must make a clear copy of the identity document. The document number, passport photo and Citizen Service Number (BSN) must be clearly legible. You must keep this copy in your records for possible inspections, for example by the Inspectorate SZW. You must keep the copy for at least 5 years after the calendar year in which the employee left employment.

Expired identity document of employee

You made a copy of the identity document when it was valid. If an employee’s ID expires, you do not have to replace it.

Identification requirement for temporary workers

Are you hiring a temporary employee? Then you must also check his original ID before he starts working for you. You may not keep a copy of the identity document in your records since you are not the employer of the temporary worker. That is the temporary employment agency. But does the hired worker have a nationality of one of the countries outside the European Economic Area? If so, you must do so for the duration of 5 years. You must also check whether this person is allowed to work.

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