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Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
Human Resource Files

Organizing employment and HR files can seem a bit intimidating at first -- the potential consequences for making a mistake are much more serious than if you accidentally throw out a credit card statement too soon! But as long as you understand your legal responsibilities and have a consistent system for each employee's files, you should be fine.

Hiring, Personnel, Benefits, And Payroll

As you consider potential employees, you will accumulate a lot of documents for each candidate resume, letters of reference, background checks, and interview notes. If you don't employ the person, that hiring file should move to archive storage for 10 years. The chance that you will ever open this file are slim -- but should someone have a complaint about your hiring practices, you need to be able to refer back to any details about their situation.

But if you do hire the person, these papers should move to their official personnel file -- along with their job offer, letter of acceptance, and contract. It's important to keep an updated personnel file for each current employee -- which will include items like:

  • resume and official transcripts
  • job application
  • original job offer letter
  • performance reviews
  • requests for leave
  • copies of past and current employment contracts
  • notes of any disciplinary actions
  • letters of commendation
It's best if you store information in chronological order -- with the oldest information in the back of the file and the newest in the front. You can even use a pressboard folder with clips on each side to differentiate types of documents -- use the left for hiring and review records, and the right for leave requests and other issues. You should keep personnel files for 10 years after employment is terminated. And if you don't have a separate benefits department, you will need a system for organizing this information, as well. Each employee's benefits file will include any of the following offered through your company:

  • health insurance
  • disability coverage
  • unemployment and worker's comp claims
  • retirement, pension, or other financial plans
If you offer any other non-standard benefits, be sure to make a spot for these as well. You can either set up a series of color-coded files for each employee -- ex: blue for health insurance, green for retirement plan, red for worker's comp claims, etc. Or you can create an accordion file for each person with a section assigned to each type of benefit. Just be sure to include all election and registration forms, notices of change to benefits, and claims in chronological order. And again, plan to keep these files for 10 years after the person leaves your company. And however you keep track of payroll -- be it through a handwritten ledger or a computerized accounting program -- it's a good idea to keep a hard copy of your records on hand in case the IRS decides to come knocking. At the end of each pay period, when you are done cutting checks, store a printout of the month's transactions along with the employer's copy of the paycheck stubs and any forms for submitting withholding payments in a banker's box. Use dividers to separate each pay period, and plan to keep these records for 6 years time.

I've mentioned "records retention" (translated as "how long you need to keep it") several times. Most business records need to be kept for 6 years (if they are tax-related) or 10 years (if they are related to hiring, firing, or other employment actions). However, please understand that records retention rules can differ from industry to industry. So be sure to talk to your accountant and attorney if you are unsure about when you can toss something out. Your industry's professional association is another good resource for retention information -- and you can always contact ARMA, the records management association, for help.

read the original post of this blog

posted on: 2/2/2012 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Can We Have Some Order Here?

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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