Maintaining employee information records is important for legal compliance, operational efficiency, and employee relations. A comprehensive personnel files policy can guide the creation, maintenance, and access to these essential records.

What is a Personnel Files Policy?

It’s a formal document that delineates the procedures and guidelines for creating, managing, and accessing employee records within an organization. These records, commonly known as personnel files, contain a wealth of information, including employment history, performance evaluations, training records, disciplinary actions, and other pertinent documents.

By establishing clear protocols for the creation, maintenance, and access to personnel files, this policy can ensure consistency, confidentiality, and compliance with legal requirements.

Does My Company Need a Personnel Files Policy?

Regardless of your organization’s size or industry, having such a policy can offer numerous benefits. They ensure legal compliance by adhering to specific laws and regulations governing the creation, retention, and access to employee records. This compliance reduces the risk of legal disputes or penalties related to improper record-keeping practices.

This type of policy also enhances operational efficiency by streamlining the process of creating, organizing, and retrieving employee records, thereby reducing administrative burdens. It promotes confidentiality and data protection by establishing guidelines for safeguarding sensitive employee information, which helps protect employee privacy and mitigate the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access to personnel files.

Finally, transparent and consistent record-keeping practices foster trust and transparency in employee relations, while ensuring that employees’ rights are respected and their concerns are addressed promptly and fairly.

What Should be Included?

Here’s what to include in your policy to ensure it is comprehensive and compliant:

  • Purpose and scope: Define the purpose of your policy, then specify the types of documents that constitute personnel files. This typically includes employment applications, resumes, performance evaluations, disciplinary records, and other relevant documents.
  • Creation and maintenance: Outline the procedures for creating, organizing, and maintaining personnel files, including the use of standardized forms, naming conventions, and retention periods.
  • Access and confidentiality: Define who has access to personnel files and under what circumstances. Emphasize the importance of maintaining confidentiality and protecting sensitive employee information from unauthorized access or disclosure.
  • Employee rights: Clearly communicate employees’ rights regarding their personnel files, including the right to review and request corrections to their records, as well as the procedures for doing so.
  • Retention and disposal: Specify the retention periods for different types of records within personnel files, as well as the procedures for securely disposing of outdated or obsolete documents in compliance with legal requirements.
  • Compliance with laws and regulations: Ensure that the policy complies with relevant local, state, and federal laws and regulations governing the creation, retention, and access to employee records—including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and state-specific privacy laws.
  • Training and awareness: Provide training and awareness programs to employees and managers on the importance of maintaining accurate and confidential personnel records and the procedures outlined in the policy.

Create Your Own Personnel Files Policy with SixFifty

This policy is a fundamental component of effective human resource management. By establishing clear guidelines for creating, managing, and accessing employee records, this policy helps safeguard employee privacy, promote transparency, and mitigate legal risks.

Create your own personnel files policy with SixFifty. Schedule a demo today.