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June 07, 2010
Employee Records That Must Be Kept for 4 Years

In a BLR webinar entitled "Shadow Files: The Legal Risks of Allowing Supervisors to Keep 'Desk Files' on Employees; How to Protect Yourself," Marc Jacuzzi, Esq., partner a the law firm of Simpson, Garrity, Innes & Jacuzzi, PC enumerated the employee records that must be maintained for four years:

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  • Employee's full name, home address, sex, occupation and job classification
  • Date of birth (if under 18)
  • Work week, i.e., time of day and day of week on which the employee's workweek begins and ends
  • Time records:
    • All basic time and earning cards or sheets on which are entered the daily starting and stopping time of individual employees, or the employee's daily, weekly or pay period, amounts of work accomplished when those amounts determine in whole or part the pay period earnings or wages of that employee
    • Meal periods, split shift intervals and total daily hours worked also should be recorded
  • Payroll records:
    • Total wages paid each pay period (including value of board, lodging or other compensation actually furnished to the employee)
    • Date of payment and pay period covered
    • Basis on which wages are paid (e.g., "$10.50 per hour"; "$980 per week")
    • Straight time earnings
    • Overtime earnings
  • Work time schedules
  • Wage rate tables, including all tables or schedules of the company which provide the piece rates or other rates used in computing straight time earnings, wages or salary or overtime excess computation
  • Documentation of any wage differential to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment
    • This Equal Pay Act 2 year requirement applies to records which the employer maintains in the regular course of business operation which relate to the payment of wages, wage rates, job evaluations, job descriptions, etc. which describe or explain the basis for payment of any wage differential to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment, and which may be pertinent to a determination whether such differential is based on a factor other than sex
    • Many of these records are similar to those which must be maintained for three years, so the company should maintain records listed under both categories for the longer of the two periods
  • Compensation other than regular rate of pay, e.g., gifts, payments for vacation, holidays and illness, reimbursement for traveling or other expenses, bonuses and profit sharing plans
  • Additions to or deductions from wages paid each pay period
  • Piece rates or incentive plans
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Retroactive payments of wages or compensation
  • Sales and purchase records
  • INS Form I-9
  • Individual employee contracts
  • Collecting bargaining agreements
  • Terms and conditions of employment
  • Personnel, membership or employment referral records and files
  • W-4 and W-2 forms

Marc Jacuzzi, Esq., is a partner at the law firm of Simpson, Garrity, Innes & Jacuzzi, PC, in South San Francisco, California (www.sgilaw.com). Jacuzzi provides representation and counseling for employers in employment law. He also conducts in-house training programs for employers on a number of employment law topics.


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