What Goes Into A Records Retention Schedule

by on July 8, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

A Records Retention Schedule Is Dictated By Business Needs and Government Regulations

We’re talking a little more detail about records retention schedule and that, basically, is a list of company records by series and function with retention dates. And the reason it’s by series and function, is because we’re not just talking about every single file in a records retention schedule. It’s not a list of every single file that’s contained within your company, because that would be a nightmare. A records retention schedule is not even a list of every single record that’s contained within your company. It’s actually a high level compilation of big buckets of similarly related type of information with similar retention dates all put in one big bucket.

So, for example, if we’re talking about HR types of buckets, then you might have something for maybe personnel files in one big bucket and then you might have workers’ compensation files in another big bucket. And then maybe a third bucket with other types of human resources types of file.

Then once you compiled what those record series are, in other words, what are those big buckets and what you’re going to put, what types of records are you going to put into those big buckets, then you need to research what the retention for those records.

So, again, we need to make — research what the rules and regulations are out there that will regulate your HR records on a federal level, but also on a state level at every single state where you’re company does business. And industry-specific requirements, so if you’re in the insurance industry, you will have definitely in all 50 states, you’re going to have different requirements that influence your records retention schedule besides the federal regulations.

So, again, you can start to — hopefully get a flavor for how much research needs to be done to come up with a sound records retention schedule that will tell you how long records need to be maintained. And that’s just on the regulatory front. Then in addition to the regulatory requirements, the minimum regulatory requirements, you also need to bear in mind how much time you need the records to be around for your business needs as well.

So, it’s entirely possible that your business needs for, say, an HR type of record might be longer than three years. You might need to keep them five years for whatever reason. So, again, it’s okay to hold the records longer than the minimum requirement under the law, but nevertheless they need to be retained for that minimum requirement.

Edited Remarks From “How to Bulletproof Your Data Storage Strategy: New Legal Rules for Electronic Discovery” by John Isaza, Esq.

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