Having employees is not only critical to the operations and success of your business, but they also add compliance and record-keeping requirements that are sometimes overlooked. Many small and medium-sized companies do not have the need or financial resources to hire a human resource professional, therefore, those duties normally fall on the controller, bookkeeper or owner.
Obtaining the required and necessary documents related to the hiring, compensation, evaluation and termination of employees is critical to verify compliance with laws established by the Department of Labor and federal and state taxing authorities.
Below is a list of recommended items to include in your employees’ personnel files (some may not be applicable to your employees):
- Resume or signed job application
- Emergency contact information
- Federal Form W-4
- State Form W-4
- Form I-9
- Employee benefit applications or waivers
- Garnishment notices
- Payrate or salary information (historical record of raises and effective date)
- Background checks and drug test documents
- Performance evaluations
- Performance warnings or reprimands
- Exit interview and/or termination documentation
These files should be locked in a secure cabinet and accessible only by those with appropriate authority. They should be filed in a logical manner with current and past employees segregated. If these records are maintained electronically, measures should be taken to protect them from cyber-attack or identity theft.
The length of time each of these documents should be retained can vary. In general, keeping them for at least three years is a good rule of thumb.
If you have specific questions or concerns about your company’s personnel files, give us at TD&T CPAs and Advisors a call, we’d love to help you.
By Jodi Kerr, CPA, Tax Principal