Storing and Maintaining Employee Records – Tips for Keeping Compliant

This is the time of year when spring cleaning kicks into high gear and you may be thinking it’s finally time to clean out and organize those employee records. As you probably already know there are federal and state regulations in regards to:

  • Storing different types of files (how, where, and what to include).
  • What information you can provide to different departments and managers within your organization.
  • How long you need to retain files.
  • How to dispose of both electronic and hard copy files.

Do you have a system for organizing employee records that makes your life easier and your organization compliant? If not, this is a great time to start determining a process that helps you work more efficiently, and potentially more importantly, creates a system that is compliant with federal and state agencies.

Get started! Tips for Evaluating Your Filing Practices

  1. Do you have one file for each employee that contains all of his or her information? If so, you are probably out of compliance.
  2. It is highly likely that you should have a minimum of five separate files for each employee – primary personnel file, “confidential” file, medical records, payroll file, and I-9. If you are subject to EEO laws, that is another separate required file. Your employee files should also be separated for current and terminated employees.
  3. Do you know how long you are required to keep different kinds of documents? There are many record keeping laws that vary by state. Make sure you are aware of the laws you need to comply with.
  4. Are you storing I-9 forms correctly? We strongly recommend that I-9s be kept in a separate binder and stored in a locked file cabinet. You open yourself up to major liability if your I-9s are stored “in the mix” with other employee documents.
  5. Do you know the regulations on how to dispose of electronic and hard copy files? Make sure you understand the requirements before deleting or shredding any documents.
  6. Are you familiar with the HIPAA and ADA requirements regarding employee records? This is important when it comes to providing a manager with the information they are requesting while ensuring that you are not providing them with information that is prohibited by law for them to see.

We are excited about doing our own spring cleaning this year with our clients. (Yes, as an HR company we get excited about this stuff!). And if you need help with ensuring your filing practices are compliant let us know. As part of our services we provide an employee file maintenance training, audit, and tracking tool. You can learn more about our services here.

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