Q & A – What options do we have if we are running out of room for storing terminated employee personnel files?

Q: What options do we have if we are running out of room for storing terminated employee personnel files?

A: Employers have responsibilities to retain employee records for as long as federal, state, or local laws require.  A consistent practice of purging former employee records is a way to ensure that storage of employee files does not become burdensome.  Please refer to MSEC’s Federal Record Retention Guide for further guidance on specific requirements.  Public employers may have additional retention responsibilities, and need to confer with the County Clerk prior to purging files.

An employer can also consider alternate storage options.  Typically, terminated employee files are retained in a secure on-site or off-site storage facility.  However, to reduce the burden of paper files, more employers are moving to electronic record retention including micro fiche and electronic scanning capabilities to help ensure safety of employee and business records.

If a third party stores or handles your records and those records include Protected Health Information (PHI), execute a business associate agreement with that third party to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).