FAQs About Organizing Personnel Files
1. What guidelines should we follow when setting up and organizing personnel files?
"Personnel records" are records kept by an employer about an employee's qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation or disciplinary actions.
Note: A personnel record may not include personal information about another person.
Employees' medical files should be kept separate from their personnel files. This includes medical certifications, doctor's notes, requests for family or medical leave, results of medical exams, and the like. Medical files should be kept under electronic "lock and key," with access granted to only those who have a legitimate business need to know.
I-9 documentation also should be kept separate from employees' personnel files. Although keeping I-9s separate is not a legal requirement, it is a good practice. Reasons: In the event of an audit, government officials will not have access to personal employee information. Not only that, but it will make it easier for you to extract the information when the government asks for it. Keeping I-9 and EEO-1 forms apart from personnel files also limits unnecessary access to citizenship, national origin, race and other protected information.
2. What type of information is typically kept in an employee personnel file?
Here is a list of general information that usually goes into a personnel file. Note that there are no laws requiring that you keep personnel files, per se, but federal, state and industry-specific laws may require certain types of documentation to be retained.
The Massachusetts personnel record law, M.G.L. chapter 149, § 52C, allows a current or former employee to get a copy of their personnel file. The law requires an employer to give access to personnel records to employees and former employees upon written request. This applies to all employers. However, for employers with 20 or more employees, the law requires that they include a particular list of information in the file, which includes:
3. Immigration Records
If any of your employees hold immigration status, Immigration Records must be kept in a physical public access file (PAF) to be available. 20 CFR Section 655.760 indicates that employers of H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 nonimmigrants must make the following documents available for public inspection at the employer’s principal place of business or at the place of employment within one day after the date of submission of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) allows an employer to maintain an electronic version of the PAF. The file includes the following:
· Copy of the certified LCA and cover pages
· Documentation which provides the wage rate to be paid
· Explanation of the system that the employer used to set the “actual wage” the employer has paid or will pay workers in the occupation
· Documentation the employer used to establish the “prevailing wage” for the occupation
· Document(s) demonstrating compliance with union/employee notification requirements
· Summary of recruitment methods, if employer hired any “non-exempt” H-1B workers
· Summary of benefits offered to U.S. workers in the same occupational classifications as H-1B nonimmigrants
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