Record retention; What HR Practitioners should know

Updated: November 09, 2010

Job orders submitted by the employer to employment agencies, or labor organizations for recruitment of employees - One (1) year from date of personnel action.

Job advertisements and notices to public or to employees regarding job openings, training programs, promotions, and opportunities for overtime - One (1) year from date of personnel action.

Written training agreements, summaries of applicants' qualifications, job criteria, interview records and identification of minority and female applicants - Duration of training program plus three (3) years.

Test results from employment test
- One (1) year from date of personnel action.

Results of physical examinations - One (1) year from date of personnel action.

Promotion
, demotion, transfer, selection for training, layoff, recall or discharge document - One (1) year from date of personnel action.

Hiring documents
, including; job applications, resumes, job inquiries, and records of refusals to hire - One (1) year form date of personnel action.

Application forms and other pre-employment records of applicants for temporary positions - One (1) year after personnel action.

All personnel or employment records including application forms, resumes, other hiring records; records regarding promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, discharge, pay rates, or other compensation terms - One (1) year from date records made or personnel action taken, whichever is later.

INS form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form
- Three (3) years after date of hire or one (1) year after date of termination, whichever is later.

Employers having 100 or more employees, EEO-I Form
- Copy of most recent report for each reporting unit must always be retained.

Written affirmative action program with supporting documents, including evaluations, documents regarding compliance with EEO antidiscrimination and affirmative action regulations, test records and results. (Government contractors with 150 or more employees and contractors of $150,000 or more) - Retention period not specified. It is suggested that these records be retained for at least five (5) years (Research specific state laws for additional requirements).

Payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, including any changes, individual contracts, written agreements under the FLSA, sales and purchase records, and certificates and notices of the Wage and Hour Administrator - Three (3) years.

Supplementary basic records including basic employment and earnings records; wage and rate tables utilized to calculate straight time and overtime work schedules; work-time schedules; order, shipping and billing records; records of additions to, or deductions from wages paid; records used for determining costs; and records explaining basis for payment of any wage differential to employees of the opposite sex - Two (2) years.

Certificates of Age
- Until termination of employment.

Payroll or other records containing name, address, birth date, occupation, pay rate and weekly compensation - Three (3) years.

Payroll
records including name, address, job category, pay rate, weekly number of hours worked, deductions made, and wages paid - Three (3) years from completion of contract.

Name, address, and occupation of each employee - Three (3) years.

Rate of pay and amount paid each pay period to each employee - Three (3) years.

Hours worked each day and each work week for each employee - Three (3) years.

Employee benefit plans
(such as pension or insurance plans); seniority and merit systems which are in writing - Duration of plan and for at least one (1) year after plans' termination.

Basic information supporting plan descriptions including vouchers, worksheets, receipts, applicable resolutions and participants' elections and deferrals - Six (6) years after filing date of documents.

Retain a signed and dated notation in each employee file (a) documenting the dates on which the employee was given each required reporting and disclosure document relating to an employer sponsored benefit plan; and (b) the manner of deliver. Keep in a master file (instead of in each employee file) - Indefinitely.

Beneficiary designation and distribution election forms for retirement plans - For distribution to participants, three (3) years following distribution. For distribution to a beneficiary, indefinitely.

Any correspondence
, inquiries or notes relating to individual eligibility determinations - Indefinitely.

Wage and hour records
for the purpose of determining retirement benefits - Indefinitely; alternatively six (6) years following date of lump sum distribution.

Copies of each document for referral purposes. Examples of reporting and disclosure documents are COBRA notices, summary plan descriptions and summary annual report - Indefinitely.

Log and summary of occupational injuries and illnesses (OSHA form No. 200) - Five (5) years following end of year to which records relate.

Supplemental record
for each occupational injury or illness (OSHA form No. 101) - Five (5) years.

Annual summary of occupational injuries and illnesses - Five (5) years.

Records of medical examinations required by law - Duration of employment plus thirty (30) years, unless OSHA requirements provide otherwise.

Records of monitoring exposure to hazardous materials - Thirty (30) years.

Manufacturers, processors, or distributors of any chemical substance must retain records of employees' "significant adverse reactions" to health or the environment - Thirty (30) years from date such adverse reaction first reported to or known by person maintaining record.

Any other records of such adverse reactions - Five (5) years from date first reported to or known by person maintaining the record.

Consumer allegations of personal injury or harm to health, reports of occupational disease or injury and reports or complaints of injury to the environment submitted to the manufacturer, processor, or distributor from any source - Thirty (30) years for employee claims of occupational disease or occupational health problems.

Records related to positive test results and/or refusals to take a required alcohol and/or controlled substances test; driver evaluation and referrals - Five (5) years.

Equipment calibration documentation, records related to administration of alcohol and controlled substances testing programs, copy of annual calendar year summary - Five (5) years.

Records related to the collection process, including collection logbooks; documents relating to the random selection process, reasonable suspicion testing, post-accident testing; documents verifying employee's inability to provide breath for testing - Two (2) years.

Records related to negative and cancelledtest results - One (1) year.

Records related to breath - alcohol testing related training - Two (2) years.

Personnel records concerning any discrimination charge brought by any agency or individual (e.g., records about charging party and all other employees holding similar positions, application forms, or test papers completed by all applicants for same position) - Until final disposition.

In action brought against employer
, any personnel records concerning employee or applicant - Until final disposition.

Records concerning complaints of handicap discrimination, (in programs and activities receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance) and relevant employment records of charging party and employees in similar positions - Three (3) years.

Any personnel or employment record made or kept by an employer concerning an individual with a disability (e.g., request for reasonable accommodation, application forms, and other records having to do with hiring, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff or termination, rates of pay or compensation, and selection for training or apprenticeship) - One (1) year from the date the record is made or the personnel action involved is taken, whichever occurs later.

Personnel records of an individual whose employment has been involuntarily terminated - One (1) year from the date of the termination.

Personnel records concerning a charge of discrimination filed or an action brought against an employer under Title VII or the ADA - Until final disposition of the charge or the action (the date of expiration of the statutory period within which the aggrieved person may bring an action in U.S. District Court or the date such litigation is terminated).

Basic payroll and identifying employee data, including name, address, occupation, rate of pay and terms of compensation, daily and weekly hours worked per pay period and additions or deductions from wages - Three (3) years.

All records
pertaining to compliance with FMLA's leave requirements, including dates and hours (if less than a full day) of FMLA leave; copies of employer notices, documents describing premium payments and employee benefits and records of disputes with employees over FMLA benefits - Three (3) years.

Documents describing FMLA notices and copies of employer's FMLA policy - Three (3) years.

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