Record Retention Requirements Depend on Company Procedure and the Law

by on July 6, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

The Law Dictates Record Retention Requirements for Some Documents

So let’s move on here to some nuts and bolts record retention requirements. Again, these are going to be a review of the major employment statutes and these are just minimum record retention requirements. If you have a business reason for wanting to keep particular documents for longer than the laws say you have to, by all means, keep them for the amount of time that you need them. These are not hard and fast rules. These are mainly suggestions. There is no one size fits all for document retention just so long as you’re complying with the legal minimum record retention requirements.

So for Title VII in the Americans with Disabilities Act, generally an employee is going to have 180 days or 300 days depending on the state to file a charge with the EEOC. Therefore, for at least one year from the date and the time that you took the application, you want to make sure that you have that application and then the other documents concerning your consideration of that person for the job. Likewise, if you do hire somebody and you terminate them, you want to make sure that you keep those documents at the very least for one year from the date they are terminated.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act which governs the federal minimum wage and the overtime requirements, there is the three-year category and the two-year category for record retention requirements. Under the FLSA, things that you need to be keeping for three years are vital statistics; these include employee names, addresses, date of birth, gender and occupation. For two years, the things that you need to keep would be basic employment and earnings records, wage rate tables, order, shipping and billing records, and cost and charges relating to additions to or deductions from wages.

The Family and Medical Leave Act have generally applicable three-year record retention requirements. The types of information that you would keep for FMLA compliance would be things like the vital statistics—compensation data, hours worked, daily and weekly, dates or hours of FMLA leave.

You should probably be keeping some sort of log which counts the amount of time that employees are taking FMLA leave so that you can establish at any given time, how much more they have left to take. Copies of any notices to and from the employee are essential to FMLA compliance because you have to be able to establish that you worked with the employee.

Record retention requirements under the Age Discrimination Employment Act state that the payroll records need to be kept for three years. Any personal records similar to Title VII need to be kept one year from the date of the action.

Employee benefit plans come up often in ADEA compliance because oftentimes employees that are older tend to have different types of benefits available to them just because of their tenure at the company. Any employee benefit plans need to be kept for the duration of the plan plus one year.

The OSHA forms that record exposures need to be kept five years after the end of the calendar year that they relate to. And finally here a rather important one, any records of medical exams used to monitor exposure to hazardous materials have record retention requirements of employment plus 30 years. This is an OSHA requirement. Generally even though this only deals with exposure to hazardous materials and not all medical records, it’s usually a good rule of thumb to follow and it’s a safe rule to follow to keep those medical records for 30 years.

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