HR Records Retention Requirement Guide

By NE Docs | October 6, 2014

HR Records Retention Requirement Guide

Human resources and personnel records represent some of the most important and sensitive documents your organization can possess. As such, it’s important to be aware of each document’s record retention requirements at the federal level and by state.

Below is a guide to records retention requirement duration by document type. The best way to use this guide is to become familiar with general requirements, knowing that there are important differences by state that you will need to investigate – and this information changes on a semi-regular basis.

Tip: the single best thing you can do to help ensure these retention requirements are met is to scan all employee records. The next best thing is to use an HR document management system to find all records instantly and to automatically purge documents that no longer need to be retained

Retention Duration
Document Types
1 year State new hire reports*
2 years Employer Information Report EEO-1*
Annual Affirmative Action plans (after close of AAP year)
3 years Resumes, applications, and interview records for applicants not hired
Employee I-9s (from hiring date or 1-year following termination)
FMLA and related leave records**
USERRA records**
4 years Resumes, applications, interview, and attendance records for employees**
Compensation, job history and timekeeping records
Performance appraisals and disciplinary action records
Federal/state tax reports*
5 years Background checks, drug test results, driving records, employment verifications, letters of reference, and correspondence**
Dispute records involving external agencies or parties, wage-hour investigation by DOL, EEOC charges, arbitrations, court actions, etc.**
OSHA and employee safety records**
6 years Correspondence
Benefits records*
Form 5500*
7 years Employee contracts
Garnishments
10-30 years Workers compensation claims (duration depends on the state)
30 years Employee medical records**
Permanent Earnings, paychecks, payroll, records
Pension applications, records, claims, and correspondence

* From filing date
** After termination

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