Payday loans

November 19, 2012

To Keep or Not to Keep

As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to think about cleaning out file cabinets, drawers and those notebooks that collect dust on your bookshelf.  That’s one of the items on my checklist to complete before the end of the year.  Although it is sometimes a dreaded process, it always provides me with a sense of accomplishment when completed.

When approaching this project, not only should you consider how long to keep the documents but you also need to make sure you don’t keep them for too long as that could put you at risk of a security breach.  So what should you do?  First of all, it’s a good idea to have a document retention schedule in place for your organization.  Consider both the legal guidelines regarding the lifecycle of specific documents, but your organization should also consider how long you need to retain them for internal reference.

Once the retention schedule is established and the retention period has passed, documents should be discarded appropriately.  Many types of documents require shredding as the method for discarding, which is considered to be best practice.  Additionally a destruction schedule and tracking sheet should be completed as part of your document retention practices.

Below are some of the recommended retention requirements for human resource related documents.  Please keep in mind these recommendations are general guidelines only.  They are not intended to represent legal advice as you should contact your legal expert to provide requirements for your specific requirements based on your type of business and locality.

Document

Years of Retention Recommended

Attendance Records

7

COBRA Records

4

Employment Applications – Not Hired

3

OSHA Logs

6

Performance Records – after termination

7

Withholding Tax Statements

6

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