How Long To Keep Employee Records?

One of the most frequently asked questions is how long you must retain employee records.

Short version: To be safe, 3 years is a good rule of thumb, except in the case of businesses under OSHA. See below.

Long version:

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Under the FLSA, keep records for three years. Keep records such as basic employment, earnings records, wage rate tables, records of additions to or deductions from wages, payroll records, certificates, agreements, plans, notices, and sales and purchase records.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Employers with at least fifteen employees must keep employment applications and other personnel records for one year.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
Under the ADEA, employers with 20 or more employees must keep the same records as described above for one year.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The FMLA requires a period of three years, for records involving payroll and demographic information, as well as information related to an employee’s family or medical related leave of absence.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
Finally, OSHA requires that records of job-related injuries and illnesses be kept for five years. Under OSHA, employers are required to post an annual summary of job-related injuries and illnesses. In addition, records related to medical exams along with records relating to toxic substances and blood-borne pathogen exposure must be retained for thirty years after the termination of employment.