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Form retention period

We are a California employer (with less than 50 employees)and want to reduce the amount of paperwork that has been accumulating in some of our employee files for over 10 years; consequently, these files are bulging at the seams! Question is “how long are we required to hold on to completed Vacation/Leave of Absence/Other Absence forms?”. Once we remove some of these forms, files will be much more manageable. Also, if there is anything else of importance that we need to know about personnel files in general, your professional input is very much appreciated. Thanks very much.

The best advice we can give about personnel files in general is that they can be digital. it is completely legal to scan the files and store them digitally on a back-up hard drive. Even I-9s and W-2s can be stored digitally.  Scanning the files is a great job for an intern or a minimum-wage employee.

To answer your question, you should keep any attendance information related to payroll for a minimum of 3 years. Information that could be used to defend against a discrimination suit should be kept for 7 years.

Here is the bad news. Under the Ledbetter Act, passed in early 2009, you need to keep information to justify any and all compensation decisions indefinitely. Under this law, an employee could sue 20 years later for employment discrimination based on salary. So while it is probably safe to discard leave of absence forms, you will want to keep documents related to salary decisions including promotions, training, evaluations, etc.



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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 18th, 2010 at 7:48 pm and is filed under
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