The answer to the question above depends on two things:
The best first step is to consult your legal team or HR consultant.
Meanwhile, here is a general guide:
These include résumés, interview notes, letters of recommendation, and any other documents pertinent to an employee’s hiring. Documents that belong in this category are best kept on file for at least one year after the employee was hired. Note: One year starts only once the hiring decision has been made official with the job offer letter sent and accepted.
Keeping these specific records for at least a year helps you highlight your company’s fair, unbiased hiring process, just in case questions get asked for one reason or another.
Given the amount of payroll documentation and corresponding regulations you are required to keep track of, close coordination between your legal and HR teams is a must.
Generally, these numbers apply:
Be sure to comply with IRS regulations for tax records as well. These require employers to maintain employee tax records for four years. These records should include the following:
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires employers to keep an employee’s Form I-9 for at least one year after termination, or three years from their hire date, whichever date is later.
The USCIS website features a handy calculator to help you determine the length of time an employee’s records need to stay on file.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires at least six years from the date of report filing for employee records around retirement plans, such as the following:
Records under this category come with numerous rules, which are detailed here. To keep things simple, keep these records.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also requires employers to keep any employee benefit plans (e.g., insurance and pension) and any written seniority or merit system:
Recordkeeping should start the moment an employee requests leave via the Family and Medical Leave Act, even if you ultimately deny the request. FMLA leaves must be designated as such in the records. The regulations require at least three years for records such as the following to stay on file:
Any FMLA-related medical records of an employee or their family members should be kept confidential and separate from their regular employment records.
Tip: Check with your legal team to ensure your recordkeeping is compliant with potentially applicable laws such as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws may change over time and can vary by location and industry, please consult a lawyer or HR expert for advice specific to your business. You can also contact Payroll Systems to inquire about our HR support services.