Personnel e.bulletin – July 2017

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Guidelines for Employer Records Retention

Prepared by SESCO Management Consultants

How long do you need to keep records on file? It depends on what the files contain and the rules can be confusing. Here is a quick guide that will help to outline exactly what you need to keep and for how long.

Employer Records Retention

Subject Federal
Requirement
Federal
Reference
 Wages, Hours, Working Conditions    
  • Payroll records
  • Name & Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Occupation
  • Hours worked each day and hours worked each week
  • Wages paid
  • Payday records
  • Straight time and overtime
  • Payroll deductions
  • Union collective bargaining agreements
  • Qualified benefit plans
  • Trust records
  • Employee notices
  • Sales & purchasing records
 

3 years from date of last entry

 

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. Sec 201-219)

  • Basic time and earnings cards
  • Wage rate tables
  • Work time schedules
  • Order, shipping, billing records
  • Records of additions to or deductions from wages
  • Unemployment compensation contributions
 

2 years from date of last entry

 

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. Sec 201-219)

 

  • Any report required by the Secretary of Labor
  • All backup data required to prepare required reports (includes: vouchers, worksheets, receipts, dispute resolutions)
 

5 years after filing report based on records

 

Labor-Management Reporting & Disclosure Act of 1959 (29 U.S.C. Sec 433-436)

 

Subject Federal
Requirement
Federal
Reference
Occupational Safety & Health Records  
  • Log of occupational injuries or illnesses resulting in: medical treatment (other than first aid); loss of consciousness or restriction of work or motion; transfer or termination of employment
5 years minimum following injury or illness Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) (29 U.S.C. Sec 51, et.sec., 29 CFR Sec 1904.2, 1904.4, 12904.6)
  • OSHA 300A Report is posted each year (Feb – Apr)
  • Hazardous condition exposures
  • Employee medical records
  • Heavy equipment operation records
5 years after year reported.  Up to 30 years after employment ends 29 CFR Sec 1904.2, 1904.4, 12904.6)

 

Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) (29 U.S.C. Sec 51, et.sec., 29 CFR Sec 1904.2, 1904.4, 12904.6)

Non-Discrimination, EEO & Affirmative Action Records  
  • Employment records (hiring, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, compensation changes, training selection)
  • Payroll records (name, address, birth date, occupation, rate of pay, days worked each week, compensation earned each week
  • Job descriptions
  • Union agreements and contracts
  • Retirement, pension and insurance plans
  • Seniority and merit system descriptions and records
  • Leaves of absence taken
1 year after date of personnel action or until any discrimination charge is resolved.

 

2 years for Affirmative Action employers unless employer has fewer than 150 employees or does not have a Government contract of at least $150,000.  Then the retention requirement is 1 year from the date of making the record or the personnel action taken.

Civil Rights Act of 1964, Tile VII (42

U.S.C. Sec 2000e-2000E-17)

 

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) (2   U.S.C. Sec 621-634)

 

41 CFR 60-1.12 (12/13/2000)

 


Subject
Federal
Requirement
Federal
Reference
 

Non-Discrimination, EEO & Affirmative Action Records

 
  • Employment requisitions
  • Job advertisements
  • Job offer letters
  • Job applications and testing documents
  • Affirmative Action Plans and all supporting evidence of good faith efforts to implement the plans
1 year – same as Title VII

 

2 years for Affirmative Action employers unless employer has fewer than 150 employees or does not have a Government contract of at least $150,000.  Then the retention requirement is 1 year from the date of making the record or the personnel action taken.

  • Interviewer records and notes
  • Selection decisions
  • Physical exam reports
2 years for Affirmative Action employers unless employer has fewer than 150 employees or does not have a Government contract of at least $150,000.  Then the retention requirement is 1 year from the date of making the record or the personnel action taken. Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (41 CFR 60-250; 41 CFR 60-1.12)

 


Subject
Federal
Requirement
Federal
Reference
Family and Medical Leaves  
  • Basic payroll data showing additions/ deductions from wages and total compensation paid
  • Dates for FMLA leave
  • Hours for FMLA leave
  • Notices given to employees regarding FMLA
  • Employee requests for FMLA leave
  • All benefit documents and information about paid/unpaid leave status
  • Benefit premium information
  • Any dispute or complaint from employees about FMLA leave

 

3 years Family and Medical Leave Act if 1993 (FMLA)

 

 

Income Tax Records  
  • All payroll-related records (including general ledgers, cash books, journals, voucher registers, etc.) May be retained in magnetic tapes, discs and other machine readable data media used in accounting processing.  Microfilm systems must be complete, used consistently in the business and properly indexed.  Retrieved data must be legible and taxpayer must provide IRS with written procedures governing the system and its operation.
  • Name, address, account number, total amount and date of each payment
  • Payment of services covered by each payment
  • Amount of wages subject to withholding
  • Amount of tax collected
  • Explanation for any discrepancy between total income and taxable income
  • Fair market value and date of each non-cash payment
  • Form W-4 for each employee
  • All other supporting documents relating to each employee’s individual tax status
15 years (Assessment period of 3 years + collection period of 10 years + 2 years for payment of refund)

 

W-4 should be kept for as long as in effect + 4 years

Treasury Regulations Sec 1.446-1(a)(4); 1.6001-1(a); 1.6001-1(b); 1.6001-1(e); 301.6501(a)-1; 301.6501(e)-1; 301.6511(d)-1; 301.6501(c)-1; 31.6001-5

 

IRC Sec 6502(a); 3402

 


Subject
Federal
Requirement
Federal
Reference
Work Authorization Records  
  • Form I-9 for each employee hired after November 6, 1986
  • I-9 forms should be kept in a file separate from other personnel records
3 years from date of hire, or 1 year after termination of employment, whichever is later Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) (8 U.S.C. Sec 1324a, et.seq.)
Polygraph Exams  
  • Statement of reasons for conducting the examination
  • Copy of statement given to examinee about time and place of examination
  • Copies of opinions, reports, etc. to employer from examiner
3 years after exam Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) (29 U.S.C. Sec 2001-2009; 29 CFR Sec 801.1-801.75)
Public Works Contracts – Prevailing Wages  
  • Contract number and period each employee was engaged on the contract
  • Detailed pay records for each employee for each day worked
  • Record showing all employees paid prevailing benefits or their equivalent value
2 years Davis-Bacon Act   (40 U.S.C. Sec 276a-276a-5)
Pension Plans  
  • Records sufficient to determine benefits due to employees
  • Supporting documents for ERISA filings
Permanent

6 years after filing

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974  (ERISA) (29 U.S.C. Sec 1001-1381)

 

Subject Federal
Requirement
Federal
Reference
Other Personnel Records  
Some personnel records should be retained for even longer than required by individual laws.  Here are our recommendations:

  • Attendance records
  • Employee training
  • All verification of job applicant references
  • Verification of previous employment requests
  • Performance evaluations
  • Policy receipts with employee signature
  • Benefits beneficiary designation
3 years after termination  
  • Employee awards
  • Employee commendations
  • Disciplinary action records
  • Requests for transfer
  • Termination records
  • Exit interviews
  • Wage attachments or garnishment notices
5 years after termination  
  • Employer property records showing employee issue
Duration of employment  

 

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues.  You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at [email protected].

____________________________________________________________________________This content was developed by SESCO Management Consultants (https://sescomgt.com/). Please consult your HR professional or attorney for further advice, as laws may differ in each state. Any omission or inclusion of incorrect data is unintentional. Please note this article is not intended to provide legal advice or to substitute for supervisor employment law training. Contact SESCO by calling (423) 764-4127 or emailing [email protected] to discuss this topic or any Human Resource or Employee Relations question.

The PHCC Educational Foundation, a partnership of contractors, manufacturers and wholesalers was founded in 1987 to serve the plumbing-heating-cooling industry by preparing contractors and their employees to meet the challenges of a constantly changing marketplace. If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting the Foundation by making a contribution at http://www.phccfoundation.org.

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