List of information you should keep in an employee’s file

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to store records in an employee personnel file. From new hire documents to payroll information, there are a variety of documents (and some confidential information) you need to securely store and have on hand. So, what should be in an employee file? Here’s the lowdown on what you should keep organized in your file cabinet

1) Employee Instructions

It’s a good idea to hand out your company’s HR and employee policies at your first meeting. Cover everything from pay periods to sick leave policy, and end with a discussion about work hours (i.e., when you expect people to show up for work, when you expect them not to work outside of normal business hours, etc.). Be sure to write down any exceptions or changes in case it ever comes up later.

2) Employment Application

An employment application is a formal document asking a prospective employee for personal and professional information to include, as well as basic contact information, such as phone number and email address. The application also includes release forms. Depending on your organization’s policies regarding confidentiality, applications may not contain private medical or criminal history information. Whether you use paper or electronic applications, keeping copies for future reference is important.

3) W-4 Form

Your W-4 form is a tax withholding statement that employees complete on their first day at work. The W-4 is typically requested when you’re hired, and it tells your employer how much federal income tax to deduct from your paycheck. It also sets guidelines for other withholdings – including state and local taxes, Social Security and Medicare.

4) Original I-9 Form

This form must be completed for every new hire. It confirms that each employee is legally allowed to work in the U.S. and lists their Social Security number, alien registration number (if applicable), and visa information. Copies of these forms must also be kept on hand, but only certain people can access them (see below). As an employer, you are required to keep copies for at least three years after employment ends.

5) List of Verification Documents

Every business must verify that each new hire is eligible to work in their country. That’s why there are a few types of documents that every employer needs to keep on hand and have their employees fill out for their personnel files. The most common include

6) Job Description

A letter confirming employment offer information, terms and conditions is a must. This includes salary, benefits and any special perks you may offer your employees such as health insurance or a car allowance. It’s important to include contact information for both you and your new hire, as well as details about when they can expect to start their position.

7) Signed Employment Offer Letter

An employment offer letter outlines details about a prospective hire, including job duties, salary information and benefits. This document must be signed by both you and your new hire. And it’s vital that all terms are clearly stated so neither party can make any future claims against each other (such as breaking any terms you agreed to). The offer letter serves as proof that an employer-employee relationship was established with your business.

8) Signed Wages & Hours Statement

All employees must receive a signed wages and hours statement at least once a month. This document shows them how much they’ve earned and how many hours they’ve worked, as well as their total pay for that period. It also explains payroll deductions for taxes and benefits, like Social Security or Medicare, workers compensation insurance, retirement plan contributions (if you offer one), health insurance premium payments (if you offer one), union dues and any other withheld funds.

9) Personal Emergency Contact Information

Everyone who works for your company should have up-to-date emergency contact information on hand. If a medical emergency arises and you aren’t there to provide help, having a trusted individual will ensure your employees receive assistance. Make sure all employees keep their contact information updated at all times.

10) Expense Report Forms

One of your responsibilities as a business owner is to keep track of all business-related expenses. You’ll need to report these expenses on your employees’ W-2 forms. Expense reports are a great place to start and can help you keep costs down for both you and your workers.

How HRIS will help to manage and access the employee data in one place

Today’s employers face a growing list of complex compliance issues. Keeping all your data in one place with the help of Integrated HRIS and payroll software can simplify life for HR and benefits and payroll managers as they manage sensitive employee information. For example, consider medical or dental claims records. While handling these often requires completing several different forms and faxing them to various providers, most insurers have approved electronic transmission methods which makes it easier for your company’s HR department to manage these tasks.