Appendix A: Federal recordkeeping requirements Skip to content Skip to footer


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This Federal Human Resources Manual is offered to you for free. Find state specific laws and regulations below.

Various federal and state statutes require employers to keep employee applications and other employment information for a specified period of time.

The person charged with the administration of personnel files and applications is responsible for insuring that the required information is retained in conformity with the following guidelines.

FLSA – Fair Labor Standards Act

FMLA – Family and Medical Leave Act

Type of records

Retention period

Coverage

Payroll records for each employee including full name, identification number, home address, date of birth if under the age of 19, sex, occupation, day and time workweek begins, hours worked each day and week, total daily or weekly earnings, overtime compensation, basis of overtime computation, total additions to or deductions from wages, total wages for each pay period, date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.

Three years from last date of entry for employers covered by the FLSA.

 

All employers covered by the FLSA (one employee)

 

FMLA covers employers with 50 or more employees during 20 or more calendar workweeks in either the current or preceding calendar year

 

Individual employment contracts, collective bargaining agreements, plans, trusts, certificates and required notices.

Three years from last effective date.

All employers covered by the FLSA

Sales and purchase records, by total dollar volume, weekly, month or quarterly.

Three years

All employers covered by the FLSA

Supplementary basic records – including worksheets showing daily starting and stopping time of employees, wage rate schedules and work time schedules.

Two years

All employers covered by the FLSA

Order, shipping and billing records.

Two years

All employers covered by the FLSA

Records of additions to and deductions from each individual employee’s wages; all employee purchase orders; all records used in determining amount and computation of addition or reduction.

Two years

All employers covered by the FLSA

Any certificates of age (if applicable). Employer may be required to keep different or additional wage and hour records on employees in certain specialized occupations and on employees who may be otherwise exempt from the FLSA.

Until termination of employment.

All employers covered by the FLSA or child labor laws (at least one employee)

 

Title VII  – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act

Type of records

Retention period

Coverage

Any personnel or employment records, including application forms that an employer makes or keeps and records related to hiring, promotions, demotions, transfers, layoffs, terminations, rates of pay, selections to training programs, etc.

 

One year from the time the record is made or the personnel action is taken, whichever is later.

Employers covered by Title VII (15 or more employees in each of 20 consecutive calendar weeks of the current or preceding year)

All personnel records relevant to a charge filed with or actions brought by the EEOC.

 

Until final disposition of the charge or action.

Employers covered by Title VII

EEO-1 report filed with the EEOC

While current

Employers covered by Title VII with 100 or more employees

 

ADEA – Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Type of records

Retention period

Coverage

Payroll records containing each employee’s name, address, date of birth, occupation, rate of pay and compensation earned each week.

Three years

Employers covered by the ADEA (20 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year)

Any personnel records that an employer makes and that are related to:

  • job applications and inquiries
  • promotions, transfers,          selections for training,          layoffs, recalls, discharges
  • job orders submitted to        employment agencies or      unions for the recruitment of employees  test papers
  • results of physical exams
  • any advertisements of notices
  • of job opportunities.

One year; or 90 days for applicants for temporary jobs

Employers covered by ADEA

Employee benefit plans and seniority and merit systems.

One year after termination of plan

Employers covered by the ADEA

 

EPA  – Equal Pay Act

Type of records

Retention period

Coverage

Any records that an employer makes that relate to the payment of wages, evaluations, job wage rates, job descriptions, merit systems, seniority, agreements or other collective bargaining matters that explain the basis for payment of a wage differential to employees of the opposite sex.

 

Two years

Employers covered by the FLSA

All records required to be kept by the FLSA.

Three years

Employers covered by the FLSA

 

OSHA –Occupational Safety and Health Act

Type of records

Retention period

Coverage

A log and summary of all recordable occupational injuries and illnesses for each establishment (OSHA Form 200) and a supplementary record (OSHA Form 101).

Five years

Private sector employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act with 11 or more full- or part-time employees.

Employee exposure records on toxic substances and harmful physical agents (including environmental and biological monitoring information and material safety data sheets).

30 years

All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act

Employee medical records (including medical histories; examinations and test results; medical opinions and diagnoses; description of treatment and prescriptions; and employee complaints).

Duration of employment plus 30 years

All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act

 

IRCA – Immigration Reform and Control Act 

Type of records

Retention period

Coverage

Form I-9

Three years after the date of hire; or one year after date the employment is terminated, whichever is later.

Employers employing persons to perform labor or services in return for wages or other pay.