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Why You Need Employee files

Rayaan Shire 02 Oct 14:28 2 min read
hand searching through file cabinet

An employee file is a place where you keep all the documents of your employee from the day they have started working at your company to the day they leave your organisation.

There are many reasons why you should have employee files, and we are going to give you all the information you need to know about personal records and what should and shouldn’t be in them.

Why do you need an employee file?

Storing all the relevant documents of an employee in one place means it is easy to locate any details about their role and responsibilities.

It's critical when an employee files a claim against you, and you'll be able to quickly submit all of the appropriate documents. This is why you must keep the employee's personal file current and review it on a regular basis to ensure that all of the necessary documents are present.

It will safeguard you in a lawsuit, as the employee file will serve as a record of the support and treatment the worker got while working for the company.

What should be in the employee file?

On the day of hire, you should start a personnel file for each employee. The majority, but not all, of critical job-related documents, such as contracts should be kept in the file.

You should keep the following documents in your employee's file:

  • Job application, cv, cover letter
  • Job description for the position
  • Education and past employment information
  • Job offer letter
  • Employment contract
  • Training records
  • Emergency contact info
  • Payroll and benefits info
  • Any other employment documentation

What should not be included in employee files?

It's advisable to leave out any information that isn't relevant to the employee's job—for example, medical records or extraneous information.

​​The information you decide to include should be limited to facts about the employee and only that.

How long should you keep employee files?

Under the law passed in 2018 on general data protection regulation (GDPR) has stated a strict rule regarding employers’ responsibilities to protect their employees’ data.

Other information should be kept on hand in case a former employee files a lawsuit against you. You wouldn’t be able to give evidence that you obeyed employment regulations if you removed records of appraisals, disciplinary action, or benefits.

For an unsuccessful candidate, employers must keep the data for at least six months after they have applied.

According to the GDPR, employees have the right to be informed about:

  • Information about the collection and processing of their data
  • Access the personal data and supplement held about them by the data controller
  • Have their data erased by the data controller
  • Restrict a data controller from processing their data if they consider it is unlawful or the data is inaccurate
  • Object to their data being processed for direct marketing, scientific or historical research
  • Data portability - this will allow the employee to get the data from their employer and reuse it

Where should employee files be kept?

Employers used to store all documents in a locked, fireproof cabinet. But, I'm here to tell you that those days are long gone, thanks to the advancements in technology. HR software is the safest way to keep all of your records in one location.

You'll be able to keep important documentation safe and manage who has access to them with HR software. Employees will be able to update their personal information themselves, freeing up admin time for you.

Because the programme is hosted in the cloud, it may be accessed from any location. This will be important when more employees begin to work remotely or have flexible work schedules that allow them to work from home on some days of the week.

Employees should be able to examine their employment contract and the job description on the programme to answer any questions they have regarding their role or obligations. This will free up time for you to focus on your business by reducing the time you spend addressing frequent questions from staff.

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