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How long do employers need to keep employee records?

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Taken from the U.S, Chamber of Commerce website: Personnel Information You Must Keep
The only records that you have to keep are those required by the government (we discuss federal law, but state law requirements may mean additional recordkeeping) and whatever information you need for your own business purposes. But the government requires that you keep an array of information under different laws. When reviewing the chart for record retention requirements, know which laws affect your business so that you can comply more easily with them. Federal laws address the length of time that certain employee records must be kept, but not how long the entire personnel file must be kept. Some state laws require that personnel files be retained for a given period of time following an employee's termination. The retention periods range from 60 days to three years following termination. We recommend that you retain such records and keep a personnel file for seven years after any employee terminates employment, since your business may be called upon to provide an employment reference for the employee in the future or may be drawn into a dispute over the reason for the termination. Information Retention requirement Law Employee name and any identifying number used in place of the name used on any work records 4 years from tax due date or payment of tax, whichever is later Social Security Act Social Security Number 4 years from tax due date or payment of tax, whichever is later Social Security Act Employee home address, including zip code 4 years from tax due date or payment of tax, whichever is later Social Security Act Date of birth if the employee is under 19 3 years FLSA Equal Pay Act Date of birth of all employees 3 years ADEA Gender of employee 3 years FLSA Equal Pay Act Occupation of employee 3 years FLSA Equal Pay Act ADEA Age records No time period specified by law ERISA Service record to determine whether an employee has worked 1000 hours or has incurred a break in service No time period specified by law ERISA Marital status record No time period specified by law ERISA Form I-9 3 years after hire or the date of recruitment or referral (if directed from an employment agency) or, after termination, for one year or 3 years after hiring, whichever is later Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 Complete job application 1 year Title VII ADA Resumes or other forms of employment inquiry 1 year ADEA Other hiring material 1 year Title VII ADA Job orders submitted by an employer to an employment agency 1 year ADEA Test papers for a position if the test paper discloses the result of the test 1 year ADEA Results of any physical examination that is considered by the employer in connection with personnel action 1 year ADA Any advertisements relating to job openings 1 year ADEA Records of job movement (promotions, demotions, transfers) 1 year Title VII ADA ADEA Material relating to layoffs 1 year Title VII ADA ADEA Material relating to termination 1 year Records of involuntarily terminated employees must be kept for a period of one year from the date of termination. Title VII ADA Selection for training or apprenticeship 1 year Title VII ADA ADEA Requests for physical job accommodation 1 year ADA Records to keep for your own business use. Other employment records routinely maintained by employers, but not specifically listed in the federal requirements, include:
  • work history
  • performance evaluations
  • disciplinary records
  • personal commendations
  • sick days
  • vacation days
  • benefit enrollments
  • beneficiary designations
  • payroll withholding statements
  • reports of reference checks
  • worker compensation information
  • medical records
  • any lie detector test information
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