Spring Cleaning – Employee Records

Spring Cleaning – Employee Records

  • On March 17, 2017

Spring is FINALLY here! Personally, I am looking forward to nicer weather, blooming flowers and trees, and “spring cleaning”.  Now is the perfect time to think about cleaning and organizing your employer files.  Before you head for the nearest shredder, be sure to review federal and state retention requirements.  As a general rule of thumb, most records should be retained for seven years.  Please note, however, that some OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) records must be retained for 30 years.

I-9 forms for terminated employees must be retained for three years from date of completion of the I-9 form or one year from the employment termination date, whichever date is later.  For example, Mary Smith worked for ABC Company from January 2, 2017 to March 2, 2017.  Her employment termination date is considered March 2, 2017.  Mary’s I-9 completion date is her hire date of January 2, 2017.  Based on this example, the later of the two dates would be three years from the date of I-9 completion date (January 2, 2020) rather than one year from the employment termination date (March 2, 2018).  In another example, Joe Doe worked for ABC Company from May 1, 2000 to May 1, 2016.  Joe’s I-9 completion date is May 1, 2000.  Joe’s employment termination date is May 1, 2016.  Based on this example, the latter of the two dates would be one year from Joe’s employment termination date (May 1, 2017) rather than three years from the I-9 completion date (May 1, 2003).

Be careful when disposing of employer records.  There may be personal protected health information (PHI) in your files.  If any of the records contain employee names, dates of birth, social security numbers, etc., these records should be properly disposed of by shredding to protect from identity theft. 

By Maria Peterson, SPHR, HR Manager