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Record Keeping Requirements

All employers need to retain certain information on their employees, to ensure compliance with legislation as well as to support personnel administration so as you are prepared to deal with employee relations issues as they arise.

Retaining Personal Data Correctly

The retention of personal data is regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998. The Act sets out a number of key principles that must be complied with:

Creating & Storing Employee Files

For most companies manual files are the easiest, most convenient way to retain employee files. However, more companies are moving towards electronic records. Personnel files, of both past and present employees, should always be stored securely and confidentially:

Employees Accessing Their own File

Under the Data Protection Act employees have a right to access their personnel file and obtain information with regard to why data is being stored and how it is being processed/used.

If an employee wishes to see details of any data an employer holds on them they should usually make the request in writing, this is known as a Data Subject Access Request. On receipt of such a request, you as employer have 40 days to respond to the query. A company may reserve the right to charge £10 per request.

With this in mind, employers should:

There are exceptions to an employee’s right to view information held on them. These exceptions are:

Employees’ right to access their own files continues after they have stopped working with a company.

How long to retain personnel files

Areas where statutory retention periods exist

Other suggested retention periods:

This is a guidance note. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up-to-date, these notes are not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice.



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