All organisations collect data relating to their employees – their HR records - including information such as pay levels, sickness absence, or hours worked. HR records can be stored in hardcopy or electronically but it is important for organisations to keep the information well-organised and in an appropriate system so that it complies with relevant legislation and can be easily retrieved.

This factsheet introduces the legal position on the retention of HR records, including the Data Protection Act and Employee Practices code, and provides guidance on where to find full guidance in these areas. It also offers two checklists: One giving statutory retention periods for information such as accident records or income tax returns, and the other giving recommendations for retaining non-statutory information such as application forms or parental leave information.

CIPD viewpoint

What are HR records?

The legal position

How this checklist of retention periods is organised

Statutory retention periods

Recommended (non-statutory) retention periods

Useful contacts and further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Lisa Ayling, solicitor and employment law specialist. However, while every care has been taken in compiling the information, the CIPD cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions and the information is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.

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