Why Should You Archive Historical Employee Documentation?

HR holds a critical role in housing valuable employee documentation and data. When should you archive those personnel records and how can you do so?

Wrapping up 2018: How and Why you should Archive Historical Documentation and Data

shutterstock_1020181921HR professionals at organizations know that they must adhere to strict employee recordkeeping requirements that are dictated by the government.  Not only do some federal agencies require a backlog repository of records and data for your employees, there are also varying state and local statutes to consider.  There are also different provisions for staff employees vs. consultants, contractors, or subcontractors.  Therefore, implementing a holistic records management program is integral to conducting business and satisfying the stringent regulations, and the end of the calendar year is an optimal time for a reminder.

Retention Is Requisite

HR possesses the lofty job of creating and retaining confidential employee data, ranging from hiring information to performance data and even documentation of potential termination.  Discrete from personnel data, there is also the required mandate of maintaining medical records, credit information gained during the hiring process, immigration forms, as well as any complaints lodged or HR investigations conducted of the employee.  The longer an employee is at your company, the larger their personnel file becomes. 

However, storing the information is mandated in order to ensure regulatory compliance and to minimize potential civil monetary penalties, or even criminal liability.  Not doing so can also create a situation where your company runs the risk of litigation.  In fact, you must research the retention period as mandated by federal and/or state laws.  The Uniform Preservation of Private Business Records Act (UPPBRA) sets a three-year period for keeping records in-house and has been enacted by a number of states.  Even if your state has not enacted this law, it is a good rule of thumb to follow.   

Obviously, extreme caution must be exercised in the storage of employee data and documentation, whether in hard copy or electronic format, since much of it is confidential and should only be accessible to members of the HR department.  You should defer to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to confirm which individuals at your organization can gain access to the records.  However, remember that access must always be granted to employees at any requested time in order for them to review or even copy information within their own personnel files. 

Lastly, once the designated retention term has been met, employee documents must be destroyed properly, whether shredded, incinerated, or erased to remain in compliance with any applicable laws.  However, if you are nervous about what or what not to destroy, hiring a certified document contractor could be an option.  Lastly, an intermittent audit should be conducted to make sure that policies and laws are being followed all the time, especially if HR staff has experienced recent employee turnover.

Profit from Going Paperless

All of this record retention can generate a deluge of paperwork for HR to contend with.  However, there are HR case management offerings that convert unwieldy paperwork into electronic files and seamlessly archive the files and store them in the cloud.  Not only can using an electronic recordkeeping platform mitigate storage costs, but can minimize boxes of files around the office, creating a cleaner and less cluttered space. 

LaborSoft’s innovative technology is one of many integral solutions that keep your business, in business. Our employee relations analytics, case management workflows, and our central repository of documentation streamlines case management to mitigate risk of operational bottlenecks, costly lawsuits, and legal ramifications stemming from HR issues and complaints. This sensitive data requires that maximum security protocols are in place and that your information is protected at all times.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Contact us for a customized demonstration and learn how LaborSoft can help you improve communications, build a more collaborative, safe, and supportive workplace, while reducing the likelihood of costly litigation. 


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