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Use Caution When Purging Employee Records

January 29, 2019
HR professionals tend to be employee-information hoarders. Personnel information remains in a file somewhere for years, taking up space. Nobody is fully sure what is in there and why it is being saved.  
The first weeks of the New Year are a good time to purge employee files wherever possible. But be careful – you must retain records for current employees and for a set period of time after an employee leaves the company.
Here are some of the most frequent employee-record questions we hear about on the AIM Employer Hotline. In many cases there are federal and state laws governing how many years the record must be retained. Look to the stricter requirement and follow it.
  1. MGL Ch 151 §15
  2. FLSA Fact Sheet 21
  3. DOT Employer Record Keeping requirements for drug and alcohol testing
  4. 825.500 FMLA regulations
  5.  As a wage withholding, subject to MA Wage and Hour law record retention
  6. As a wage withholding, subject to FLSA record retention
  7. M-274 US Citizenship and Immigration Service Handbook
  8. MGL Ch 149 §56-105
  9. OSHA recordkeeping regulation 1904.33
  10. MGL Ch 151 §15
  11. FLSA fact sheet 21
  12. MGL Ch 149 §52C 
Don’t forget that in many cases the information being destroyed is subject to the data security law and so must be destroyed in accordance with your company’s written information security policy (WISP) documentation. 
Members may call the AIM Employer Hotline at 1-800-470-6277 with questions about this or any HR-related issue.
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