Employee Record Retention: Are You Keeping Records Long Enough?

Keeping accurate and comprehensive employee records is an enormously important part of owning a business. There are a number of regulations in place on both state and federal levels that lay out specific recordkeeping requirements for employers. By failing to meet record retention standards, you place yourself at risk of being unable to defend yourself in the event of legal action.

Different kinds of records need to be kept for different amounts of time. The required length of retention can be as short as one year or as long as the full length of employment. While the variance in retention requirements may seem complicated at first, they really are quite simple.

  • Records related to Affirmative Action Plans must be kept for at least two years from the date the record was made or action was taken, whichever happened later.
  • Records relating to retirement plans (annual reports, summary plan descriptions, required reports to the DOL and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, and other related materials) must be kept for at least six years from the filing date.
  • While the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) does not expressly require record retention, we recommend keeping documents that contain information from credit reports for one year before you destroy them.
  • Employee notices relating to FMLA and COBRA must be kept for three and six years respectively.
  • There are many different requirements relating to the retention of employment records (things like applications, promotion documentation, transfers, layoffs, terminations, etc.). In general, you should keep these records for at least one year after they were created or an action was taken.
  • Form I-9 should be kept for the full length of employment. If/when an employee is terminated, the form should be kept either three years from the date of hire or one year from the date of termination, whichever is later.
  • To ensure compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), leave records need to be kept for three years from the last entry.
  • OSHA requires records on serious work-related injuries and illnesses be retained on the worksite for at least five years.
  • Records of payroll actions should be kept for at least six years after the action occurs, and general Payroll records should be kept for at least three years.
  • The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 requires polygraph test results and the reasons for test administration be kept for at least three years.
  • Recruitment and selection documents should be kept for at least two years.

BASIC’s diverse array of HR solutions, including FMLA, COBRA, ERISA, Payroll, and our HR Assist employee data storage service, will help you meet these record retention requirements. We’re experts in handling your HR needs, with our help you’ll never need to worry about failing to meet requirements like these.

To request a proposal for BASIC’s HR Assist service, click here!