Retention of HR and other related records
The legal position
There is a substantial and complex amount of EU and UK legislation which has an impact upon the retention of HR and other related records. Examples of legislation dealing with particular categories of records are provided in the boxes below. Other important statutes, statutory instruments, EU Directives, and further provisions and proposals include the following:
Limitation Act 1980 Data Protection Act 1998 Freedom of Information Act 2000 The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC ...view middle of the document...
Under the DPA data must not be kept any longer than is necessary for a particular purpose. Computerised systems are covered by the law, as are certain manual systems: to be covered, manual systems must be organised into a 'relevant filing system'. Even manual filing systems in existence before 24 October 1998 when the DPA came into force are now required to comply fully with the Data Protection Directive. Subject to certain exceptions (as detailed in Schedule 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998) employees have the right to access their records and the employer is under an obligation to ensure that the data is accurate. Before releasing such data to a third party the employer must seek the permission of the individual concerned. See our factsheet on data protection for further details.
The Information Commissioner has issued an Employment Practices Data Protection Code in four parts:
Part 1: Recruitment and selection Part 2: Employment records Part 3: Monitoring at work Part 4: Information about workers health.
The various parts of the Code, together with additional guidance notes are available on the Information Commissioner’s website – see the Useful Links section below.
Storage format of HR records
In the event that employment contracts and other HR records are needed for the purpose of a legal action, the originals must be made available or the employer must explain what happened to the original documents backed up by what is known as a 'statement of truth'.
Destruction of records
When employers really no longer need to keep certain data, destruction must take place securely and effectively, for example, by shredding.
Statutory retention periods
The table below summarises the main legislation regulating statutory retention periods. However, if in doubt, the government’s Business Link website (see Useful contacts below) advises that it is a good idea to keep records for six years (five in Scotland), to cover the time limit for bringing any civil legal action.
Record Retirement Benefits Schemes – records of notifiable events, for example, relating to incapacity
Statutory retention period 6 years from the end of the scheme year in which the event took place
Statutory authority The Retirement Benefits Schemes (Information Powers) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/3103) The Statutory Maternity Pay (General) Regulations 1986 (SI 1986/1960) as amended
Statutory Maternity Pay records, 3 years after the end of calculations, certificates (Mat the tax year in which B1s) or other medical evidence the maternity period ends Statutory Sick Pay records, calculations, certificates, selfcertificates
3 years after the end of The Statutory Sick Pay the tax year to which (General) Regulations they relate 1982 (SI...