In the United States, several Federal Government laws require employers to keep all sorts of documents for different periods of time. This is what’s known as a records retention schedule or policy.
This includes, but isn’t limited to Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, FLSA, FMLA, ERISA, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) as well as OSHA. Each of these files includes personal employee information for your employer records. And each has a specific retention period that must be adhered to for your organization to stay in compliance with state and federal record retention requirements.
Your job as a Human Resources Records Manager starts before you actually hire anyone. In the “pre-employment” relationship, you actually need to save applications, resumes, reference checks, background checks, and job postings. This is to ensure fairness, non-discrimination, and equal opportunity for everyone.
During an employment relationship, you’ll need to keep all of the information in the new-hire package (including acknowledgements of policies and handbooks), the I-9, and medical related paperwork. Tracking HR documents is often handled by an employee document management system. HR document management software allows you to securely organize, track and report on employee records. Whether you are tracking documents electronically or in hard copy form, it is important to understand records keeping best practices.
In paper-based HR records systems you should keep each of these separately; one file for the Personnel records, one for the I-9 records, and one for the Medical paperwork. Once the employment relationship has ended, records created as part of the separation should be filed within the personnel section of the file.
Adhering to HR records retention schedules is a complex and time-consuming process. However, in addition to complying with various federal and state laws, keeping good, well-organized records can be very helpful in documenting and supporting your organization’s employment actions.