Personnel files are usually kept by an organisation human resources department. Keeping accurate and complete files on personnel is good business practice, and it protects the organisation and the employee. Personnel files should be kept in a secure location, preferably in a locked cabinet. There are specific items that are needed in personnel files as well as items that are not needed.
Documents related to the employee's applying for and securing the position should be included in the personnel files. This includes an employee's resume, cover letter, application, pre-screening notes, interviewer's notes, verification forms for background, employment and education and new employee orientation information. Other documents that could be included are the job offer letter, employment contract and any transfer or relocation requests.
The W4 form determines the employee's tax filing status. This needs to be included in the personnel files. Any pertinent information about the employee's attendance should be in the personnel files. This includes vacation, sick time, personal time and accrued time. Companies often have authorisation forms for release of information and payroll procedures. These signed forms should be included in the personnel files.
Job Performance Records
An employee's annual review should be included in his or her personnel file. Any training or continuing education that an employee undergoes and completes needs to be documented in the file. Job counselling, warnings or disciplinary actions need to be carefully documented and included in an employee's personnel file. Any awards, commendations or honours an employee receives should be included as well. Exit interviews, as well as final performance assessments, need to be documented and included in the personnel files.
Employee contact information, including emergency contact names and numbers, should be included in the personnel file. Pension, health, dental and investment benefit information should be in an employee's files. Payroll deduction authorisations, tuition reimbursement requests and health and dental waiver forms should be in the files.
What Should NOT be in the Files
An I-9 form should be completed for every employee. This form is a verification of an employee's identification and his or her right to work in the United States. This form should be kept separate from the personnel files. Any medical documentation should not be included in personnel files. Investigational records, such as lawsuits, discrimination complaints or violations of any kind need to be separated from personnel files and secured elsewhere in a safe location. Personal finance information and any arrest or criminal records do not belong in personnel files.
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