By: Marielle Lanoir, PHR
As HR professionals, there is an obligation to maintain a filing and record system that not only allows you to obtain the information you need in a timely fashion, but also follows all federal and state laws when it comes to record-keeping requirements. With Spring right around the corner, or at least hopefully right around the corner, take this opportunity to do some “spring cleaning” within your HR department! Here are some tips to help you enter this next season with a tidy filing cabinet!
Many employers may ask, what can and can not be in an employees personnel file? As a general rule of thumb, an employee’s personnel file should contain all information pertaining to that employee’s hiring, pay, specified job and performance reviews. Any forms pertaining to health, disability, medical conditions or citizenship verification should be kept separate.
Another commonly asked question pertains to the length of time that an employer should keep various documents related to a current or past employee. Please note that these are federal requirements, and you should check with your State Labor Department to see if they require anything additional.
Immigration Reform and Control Act – Commonly referred to as the I-9 Form. This form needs to be filed and retained the later of either three years from the date of hire or one year following separation from the employer.
All documents pertaining to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)- Commonly known as any timecards or documentation pertaining to wage settings and calculations. Per the United States Department of Labor, every covered employer must keep these records for each non-exempt worker and should retain records regarding payroll or any collective bargaining agreements for at least three years and for two years when pertaining to time cards, wage rate tables, work and time schedules and any additions or deductions from wages. However, please note that for tax purposes payroll records should be kept for a minimum of four years.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)- As you know, FMLA provides eligible employees working at eligible employers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also is required by Federal law that during this time period their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. In order to verify eligibility, as an HR Manager you need to review many documents mentioned above pertaining to FLSA. That being said, as a general rule, keep all FMLA documents for three years as well.
Found some I-9’s and job applications from 1992 that no longer need to be retained? Do not just place these vital employee documents into the recycling bin. Make sure that you shred and fully destroy all papers that have employee information, including but not limited to full name, birthdate, social security number and address on them!!
Still have additional questions as to what to keep and what to shred? Visit your state’s Department of Labor site, as well as the United States Department of Labor site.