What should you store on an employee file?

In this article, Victoria Brown aka LadyBossHR, explains what documents employers should store in an employee file.

Why is it important?

All sized organisations must keep certain records about their employees.  Some are a requirement by law and others are to ensure good internal processes.  Since the launch of our HR software, oneHR, I am surprised by the lack of understanding in this area and poor record keeping.  This can lead to hefty fines. Knowing what needs to be kept and for how long can be confusing.  Below is a useful guide covering everything you need to know about managing your employees’ records.

The following list is a recommendation on what documentation an employer should keep in an employee personnel file.  My recommendation would be to use a HR software to track and store all this information online.  It really is an area of weakness in many organisations, as relying on paper in a file will undoubtedly lead to human error. 

Onboarding Documents

  • Job description and a copy of the advert
  • Job application
  • Cover letter and CV
  • Full notes from the interview
  • References and employment verification
  • Right to work in the UK evidence – this is a massive area of weakness for many business owners, it is vitally important that you have this information as the fines in this area are substantial.
  • DBS and background checks (if relevant to the role)
  • A copy of the job offer letter

Throughout the Employment

  • Emergency contact details
  • Any signed contract, written agreement or acknowledgement between the employee and the employer (such as a non-compete agreement or employment contract).  Remember this should be issued to your employee on day 1 and make sure they sign it.  oneHR has just launched an e-signature feature for users to address this. The number of unsigned contracts or missing contracts I find on a paper employee file is frightening.
  • Signed acknowledgement of employee handbook
  • Probation documents
  • Leave records
  • Tax codes and statements

Development and performance documents

  • Training documents and certifications
  • Performance appraisals and development plans
  • Promotion documents and letters of variation
  • Absence records – if you are using
  • Employee expenses
  • Competency assessments
  • Disciplinary actions and records of any complaints made

Resignation/Termination Documents

  • Letter of resignation/ or termination of contract documentation
  • Exit interview notes
  • Financial documents relating to pay, settlements, and holidays.

What should you not keep in employee files?

I would always advise to keep it professional and avoid anything personal and opinionated, that is also my advice on emails.  You should only keep documents that are about your employee’s role within the business.

How long should you keep employee information?

It is important that you adhere to GDPR rules surrounding employees’ data.  You will be legally required to keep some data when an employee leaves your business.  For further guidance on retention periods please contact our team.

If you have found this useful and fear you may not have everything in place, then why not take advantage of our easy-to-use HR software? We also offer an audit service of your existing records, to identify any gaps and run regular audits throughout the year to prevent any risk in your business.

To discuss this further or to book a demo of oneHR, please contact our Customer Success Team.

To find out more information or if you require any advice on what to store in an employee file, get in contact with our team of experts.

T: 0330 107 1037

E: contact@onehrsoftware.com

Sign up to our newsletter