Federal Requirement for Employee Record Retention

Adhering to the federal record retention requirements is an important first step in protecting an organization from liability. Here is an overview of the files affected by US federal regulations.

Federal Citations Record Retention

Job Advertisements and Postings

Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), job advertisements and internal postings should be retained for a minimum of 1 year.

Resumes and Applications

The ADA, Rehabilitation Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and ADEA require employers to keep all resumes and job applications on file for 1 year. Because the ADEA further stipulates a 2-year retention period for paperwork for individuals over the age of 40 (something that may be difficult to determine and is, of course, illegal to ask), consider making it policy to hold onto all resumes and applications for that long.

Employment Action Records

Records relating to promotions, demotions, transfers, and terminations must be retained for 1 year according to the ADA, ADEA, and Title VII. While training records, in general, should also be kept on file for 1 year, those related to safety and health must be retained for 3 years in accordance with the Occupational Safety
and Health Act (OSHA).

Wage and Hour Records

The FLSA and Equal Pay Act oblige you to keep basic employment and earnings records for 2 years and payroll records for 3 years.

Tax Records

Information relating to income tax withholdings must be retained for 4 years according to the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA).

Retirement and Pension Records

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) mandates that employee benefit plan information, including summary plan descriptions (SPDs) and annual reports, be kept on file for 6 years.

Leave Records

Information relating to leaves of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), such as time off and medical certification, must be retained for 3 years.

I-9 Forms

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), I-9 forms must be retained for 3 years after employment begins or 1 year following termination (whichever is later).

Job-Related Illness and Injury Records

OSHA requires that information pertaining to job-related illness and injury be kept on file for 5 years. In cases of exposure to toxic substances or blood-borne pathogens, medical exam results must be retained for 30 years after the employee's termination.


Record Management Policy

Record Management PolicyA record is essentially any material that contains information about your company’s plans, results, policies or performance. In other words, anything about your company that can be represented with words or numbers can be considered a business record – and you are now expected to retain and manage every one of those records, for several years or even permanently depending on the nature of the information. The need to manage potentially millions of records each year creates many new challenges for your business, and especially for your IT managers who must come up with rock-solid solutions to securely store and manage all this data.

The Record Management, Retention, and Destruction policy is a detail template which can be utilized on day one to create a records management process.  Included with the policy are forms for establishing the record management retention and destruction schedule and a full job description with responsibilities for the Manager Records Administration.

Record Management PolicyRecord Management Policy

You areas included with this policy template are:

  • Record retention requirements for SOX sections 103a, 302, 404, 409, 801a and 802.
  • Policy
  • Standard
    • Scope
    • Responsibilities
    • Record Management
    • Compliance and Enforcement
    • Email Retention and Compliance
  • Job Description Manager Record Administrator
  • 12 forms for Record Retention and Disposition Schedule

You can download the Table of Contents and selected pages for this policy template.

Record Management PolicyRecord Management Policy