Spring has officially arrived and it’s a great opportunity to clean up some HR systems and employee files. Whether your HR department stores documents electronically or keeps paper filing folders, the way you store your employee records is essential to avoiding regulatory violations or lawsuits. So, roll up your sleeves, bring a stack of new folders, grab a shredder and let’s get started spring cleaning!

Tidy up personnel files
Keeping a well-organized personnel file for each employee is a crucial part of an efficient HR department and arguably the most challenging task to keep up with. Make sure files are in correct alphabetical order, check for misplaced documents, and replace any folders that have become tattered or torn. Transfer files for terminated employees to their proper location and secure their storage. Employee information should be separated into three areas:

  1. General information that a supervisor and/or manager can review
  2. Payroll-related information
  3. Confidential information

Purge your I-9 binder
The I-9 binder should contain a section for current employees and one for terminated employees. Check that the current employee forms are alphabetized properly and have been filled out completely and signed. Remove the I-9’s of terminated employees, label with a retention date and place them in chronological order in the terminated section. Remove forms past their retention date and shred them. The most important thing to remember is that I-9 forms must be kept separately from all other employment-related records.

Clean out applicant files
Job applications can quickly grow from an orderly pile into an avalanche of documents.  According to federal regulations, applications and resumes must be maintained for a year after a job is filled. If you are a government contractor, you must keep applications for 2 years. Furthermore, each state may have its own requirements that shorten or change the federal rules. Clean out and shred any applications that are past their retention date, then file the remaining ones in an orderly, systematic way. You might file by position applied for, date of receipt, or qualifications.

Review employee handbook
If the employee handbook was last revised more than one year ago, it may need an update. Check for language that violates current federal or state labor laws or wording that could leave your company open to lawsuits. Review your policies on electronic communication to ensure they meet current best practices. Consider consulting with a legal representative or HR consulting firm who is knowledgeable in employment law.

Update HR Compliance Posters
Check that employee break rooms are clearly displaying current employee posters for both federal and state requirements. Also, make sure that you have posted a workers’ compensation notice from your current insurance carrier. If you have multiple locations you must have compliance posters at each location.

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