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Personnel Record Retention

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Why Retain Personnel Records?

Federal, state, and local laws all contribute to record-keeping requirements, especially when it comes to personnel records. These records should be kept in accordance with retention policies to ensure legal compliance as well as to serve as evidence in court proceedings and comply with IRS audits. Because of this, it is important for Human Resources administrators to understand the retention duration of every type of personnel-related record, as well as implement best practices for destruction of those documents.

Suggested Retention Guide for Personnel Records

Document Type Suggested Minimum Retention
Employee accident reports and claims 7 years
Affirmative Action Plan 1 year after plan expiration
Administrative Correspondence* 3 years
*(Important memos, emails and other correspondence regarding strategy, services, programs, policies, procedures, planning and other such materials)
General/Routine Correspondence 1 year
Legal Correspondence regarding employees Permanently
Employee evaluations 3 years following termination
Related contracts 7 years following expiration
Employee demographic records 3 years
Employee applications 3 years from application date, hiring or related personnel action (whichever is latest)
Garnishments 7 years
I-9 forms 3 years after hiring date
Organizational charts Permanently
OSHA logs 5 years
OSHA medical exam records and related documents 30 years from termination or resignation
Personnel files for terminated employees 7 years following their termination
Petty cash vouchers 3 years
Employee expense reports and related reimbursement vouchers 5 years
Polygraph test results and records 3 years
Timekeeping sheets, books, cards, etc. 7 years
Payroll withholding tax documents 7 years
Workers compensation documentation and claims 10 years after final settlement or first closure
Pension and retirement records Permanently

Important note: This list is intended to serve as a general guideline on best practices and legal compliance requirements, but does not take the place of consulting with an accountant or lawyer.

How to Securely Dispose of Personnel Records

Just as following a records retention policy can help organizations stay compliant with the law, securely disposing of those records when they are no longer needed is an essential component of record-keeping. Throwing away old records is never a good idea, as the sensitive and confidential information that personnel documents contain could end up in the wrong hands. Employees trust their employers to safeguard their information, and the best way to do this is by using a secure paper shredding service like PROSHRED® Columbus. Contact us today for more information about our information destruction services.

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