Download our latest e-book The Interstellar Guide to Benefits Administration now!

How to Marie Kondo Your HR and Payroll Filing Cabinets

03-17-2020

Spring is upon us and that means it’s time for some spring cleaning. If you’re a history buff, you might be interested to know that spring cleaning has been adapted by generation upon generation and dates back to at least the Dark Ages. And now, in our modern consumerist culture where people have a tendency to over accumulate unnecessary stuff, many are turning to the teachings of Japanese cleaning and decluttering guru Marie Kondo for help, who rose to international popularity due to her successful books and new Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Although some of us try to follow the KonMari Method for organization in our own homes, it is often neglected in our workspaces – and it’s even worse when it comes to human resources, who have to collect and store tons and tons of paperwork. If you’re an HR professional, you know it’s not like there’s any other choice – you actually need to in case your organization gets audited or sued. But before you start tidying up, one of the main questions to ask is: how long do I keep these records?

Whether physical or virtual, record keeping is important for any organization, since every organization is accountable for its past. But it can be hard to tidy up and know when to dispose of some documents, as you need to be able to show proof that you were compliant in case you get audited. To help you answer that question and get rid of unnecessary documentation, we have highlighted a few guidelines of what files you should keep and for how long.

Human Resources Cabinet – Keep HR records for up to 3 years

 

Hiring Records

Yes, you need to save these! Starting from resumes and including everything from interview notes to even your searches when using your applicant tracking system, keep these for 1 year after hiring a candidate. In case anyone ever questions your hiring process, if you need to you can prove that you didn’t violate the ADA, Title VII, or any other law.

You must also keep drug test records if you require them for employment. As with other hiring records, you have to keep drug test results for 1 year.

Form I-9

Keep Form I-9s for 3 years after hiring your employee, or 1 year after termination, whichever is later. Additionally, you should keep this form separate from other personnel files.

Benefits Information

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers must keep on file any employee benefit plan (such as pension and insurance plans) and any written seniority or merit system for the full period the plan or system is in effect and for at least 1 year after its termination. Additionally, keep a summary of all your plan descriptions for a minimum of 6 years. This will cover you under ERISA requirements and in the event an employee sues you alleging they deserve higher benefits or wants to otherwise challenge the accuracy of your benefits calculations.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Records

Always make sure you keep a paper trail and track of your employees’ leave. Keep all this documentation for 3 years.

Payroll Filing Cabinet – Ideally, keep payroll records for up to 5 years

The IRS has a 3-year statute of limitations for audits, and the same goes for the EEOC; however, there is no limit for fraud. In either case, it’s imperative to keep tax, payroll, and timesheet records stored for a little bit longer. Keep these records for at least 5 years to show how much each of your employees worked and that you stayed in compliance with FMLA and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements.

Under the FLSA, employers must keep payroll records for at least 3 years. In addition, employers must keep all records (including wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements) that explain the basis for paying different wages to employees of opposite sexes in the same establishment for at least 2 years (EEOC).

The following documents should be kept for more than 3 years:

  • Payroll and timesheets
  • Tax forms
    • Form W-2
    • Form W-4
    • Form 941
    • Form 1099
  • Retirement documents
    • Form 5305-SEP
    • Form 5305A-SEP
    • Form 5304-SIMPLE
  • Affordable Care Act
    • Form 1095-C

The Process – Does it spark joy?

Now that you have an idea of what records you need to keep, let’s dive into the KonMari process – which we’ve slightly modified for the world of HR. When tidying up, Marie Kondo proposes the following:

  • Commit yourself to tidying up all at once.

Depending on the size of your workforce, this can take a while, but once you start this project, you should see to it until it’s done.

  • Imagine your ideal lifestyle to prevent relapse.

It is very common, especially if you have a physical HR and payroll cabinet, to store unnecessary paperwork, creating tons and tons of records that are a hassle to look through. To make your life easier, it’s important to discard all of the unnecessary and very old documents. You will have what’s necessary in case you get audited, and you’ll save yourself a headache in the long run.

  • Hold an item with both hands (perhaps figuratively) and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?”  

In the context of HR, specifically, look at the content and the date: is this file important, and is it still necessary to retain?

  • Go in order.

Start with your oldest files first: scan them for the dates and whether they’ve passed the retention period.

  • Organize by category and subcategory.

This can either be done by years, then months, and then by alphabetical order. Make sure you have retrieval in mind when you set up your system.

  • Finish discarding before moving on.

Neat does not equal decluttered. With all of the records and documents that you no longer need, it’s time to safely get rid of them. As you know, some of these documents may contain sensitive or confidential information, so be sure to securely dispose of them.

  • Store.

With the knowledge of what records and documents, you should keep and for how long, store them in a clear and organized filing system that you can easily refer to, update, and change when needed.

Now that you know the general guidelines on how long you should keep certain payroll and hr documents and have learned about Marie Kondo’s tidying up methods, I’ll say go and have some fun and spark some joy in your filing cabinets!

 


This information is for educational purposes only, and not to provide specific legal advice. This may not reflect the most recent developments in the law and may not be applicable to a particular situation or jurisdiction.

Subscribe To Our Monthly Roundup

Flexible Software Anyone Can Use

Viventium-Logo

By filling out this form, you submit your information to Viventium, who will use it to communicate with you regarding updates and other services.

Overtime Shuffle - Lyrics

Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 1
In the world of work, there’s a tale to be told, About overtime hours, and the payroll gold, A consistent paycheck, that’s the worker’s dream, But when it comes to overtime, it’s not as easy as it seems.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, Susie worked hard in San Francisco town, But the rules around overtime, they had her feeling down, 42 hours this week, she gave her all, Now it’s time to calculate, let the numbers fall.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 2
Exempt or non-exempt, the title they hold, Where they work, where you’re based, it’s all in the fold, California or New York, the laws they diverge, For payroll admins, it’s a never-ending surge.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, the DOL’s website, a labyrinth to explore, State regulations galore, it’s quite a chore, Staying compliant, it’s a tricky art, Missing out on requirements can break your heart.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

BRIDGE
But here’s a method that can save the day, A payroll software, to keep errors at bay, Input the info right, integrate with ease, No more manual labor, no more overtime fees.

VERSE 3
Back to Susie’s story, she’s owed her due, According to FLSA, it seems we have a clue, $860 on the table, that’s what we’d say, But California’s got its rules, changing the way.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, California says, hours past eight, Are overtime-eligible, don’t underestimate, Now Susie’s owed $900, that’s the decree, In this overtime puzzle, you gotta set it free.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

OUTRO
So when it’s overtime, and the rules entwine, Choose a payroll software, let it all align, Viventium’s the name, we’ve got the key, To make overtime calculations a breeze, you’ll see.

ENDING
Don’t overwork yourself, don’t you fret, With Viventium by your side, it’s a safe bet, Relax, you’re with us, in this overtime fight, With the right tools in hand, everything’s gonna be alright.

Retroactive Rhythms

Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 1
In the world of care, where time slips away, Caregivers dedicate, every single day. But when the hours are missed, in the daily race, Retroactive pay, steps up to embrace.

PRE-CHORUS
A caregiver tired, at the week’s end, Forgot to log hours, a mistake to mend. Admins face the challenge, calculations to make, To set it right, for the caregiver’s sake.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 2
Manual calculations, prone to a flaw, Dealing with shifts, odd hours, and the law. As your business grows, the cost takes flight, Automated solutions, shining bright.

PRE-CHORUS
Compliance is key, with FLSA’s might, Calculate and compensate, get it right. Avoid the audit’s gaze, fines and the cost, Retroactive pay, no longer lost.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

BRIDGE
Employee satisfaction, a crucial part, Resolve mistakes, a work of heart. Relationships flourish, in pay’s embrace, A payroll software, creating a trace.

VERSE 3
Star caregivers, valued and strong, Retention and recruiting, where they belong. Automated solution, a total pay dance, Establish your business, a work-life romance.

PRE-CHORUS
A self-winding watch, Viventium’s grace, Optimizing payroll, in every case. No more struggles, in the payroll game, In it with you, time and time again.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

OUTRO
As your business grows, in the hustle and fight, Viventium by your side, making it right. No more worries, in the payroll chain, In it with you, time and time again.

In the Arms of Geo Tax - Lyrics

Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, we all aim to thrive, Year after year, our dreams taking flight. But as we soar higher, we start to see, More money, more problems, just like B.I.G. Outgrowing our shell, it’s an exciting phase, But it brings with it some challenging days. Solutions we had, now show their flaws, As we push the boundaries, breaking through the walls.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

VERSE 2
Employees across states, in different localities, Tax laws aplenty, creating complexities. Our old software’s limits, we’ve begun to see, Scaling up our business, we need to break free. Calculating pay and taxes, where it all begins, Errors in this process, lead to countless sins. Employees rely on us, trust in our might, To withhold what’s needed, get it just right.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

BRIDGE
Taxes, they’re not simple, that’s for sure, A world of complexity, there’s always more. But Viventium stands with us, in this fight, Geo Tax, our ally, making everything right.

VERSE 3
CPAs may struggle, and admins too, Keeping up with taxes, what can they do? The rules keep changing, it’s hard to keep pace, But Viventium’s here, in this challenging space.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

OUTRO
So relax, dear business, and set your mind free, With Geo Tax on our side, we’re the best that we can be. Viventium’s got us, in this tax-filled fight, No more worries, no more sleepless nights.

REPEAT CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

Payroll Grid Serenade - Lyrics

Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 1
In the world of admin tasks, where changes often arise, There’s a tool that’s been a savior, under office fluorescent skies. With flexibility and precision, it eases their daily strife, Let’s sing about this feature, it’s the pulse of our work life.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 2
Admins wear many hats, in their daily grind, Sometimes they need to adjust, leave no errors behind. Adding extra hours, bonuses, or fixing pay, They need a simple method, to make it all okay.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

BRIDGE
Custom views and filters, tailor it to your need, Focus on the important, no need for needless speed. A hundred-dollar bonus, a few clicks and it’s in flight, Admins get it done, making sure it’s right.

VERSE 3
In the admin’s world, where numbers have their say, This tool steps in gracefully, making tasks less gray. An interface so intuitive, like an Excel sheet, Changing data effortlessly, making work complete.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

OUTRO
So here’s to Payroll Grids, in our song of praise they gleam, For admins working diligently, they fulfill a dream. In the world of office hustle, they bring much-needed light, Let’s tip our hats to this tool, and its invaluable might.

Automation Anthem - Lyrics

Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

VERSE 1
In the world of payroll, a daily task we face, Admins work hard, in this complex space, They handle policies, with attention and care, But there’s a solution that’s beyond compare.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, your role’s crucial and true, But there’s a tool we’ve got, just for you, Let’s explore rule-based automation, my friend, With Viventium, your tasks will gently mend.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

VERSE 2
Standardize policies, that’s the key, For tenure, role, union status, you’ll see, PTO, bonuses, pay rates defined, Automation makes your workload more aligned.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, the burden’s a load, But rule-based automation lightens the road, No more tiresome chores, no more dread, With Viventium, it’s smoother ahead.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

BRIDGE
In the world of payroll, where tasks repeat, We’ve got the solution, it’s oh so neat, “If this, then that,” it’s simple and sly, With Viventium by your side, you’ll reach for the sky.

VERSE 3
Tenure-based PTO, a common request, With Viventium, it’s passed the ultimate test, Set it up once, and then you’ll see, Automation handles the chore, oh so free.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, take a breath, take a pause, With Rule-Based Automation, you’ll find no flaws, It’s easy, it’s simple, no programming in sight, Viventium’s got you covered, day and night.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

OUTRO
So if you’re a payroll admin, feeling the weight, Let Viventium’s Rule-Based Automation be your fate, No more worries, no more strife, With Viventium, you’ll transform your work life.

The Data Groove - Lyrics

Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, it’s a complex game, With factors and figures, it’s never the same. Decisions are key, they’ll determine your fate, So listen up closely, don’t be a bit late.

PRE-CHORUS
Gather your data, don’t let it fade, In the depths of spreadsheets, don’t let it cascade. Your HCM software, is it up to the task? To capture and store, to help you unmask.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

VERSE 2
Once the data’s collected, it’s time to report, But it can be daunting, that’s the common retort. Pre-built solutions, they’re your guiding light, Turning raw data into visions so bright.

PRE-CHORUS
No more manual hours, no errors in sight, With report library’s might, everything’s right. Payroll summaries, tax liabilities, and more, All in a flash, you’ll have what you adore.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

BRIDGE
Viventium’s here, with a passion so true, Constantly improving, for folks just like you. A Report Library, a gift from the stars, For data-driven dreams, it’ll take you far.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

OUTRO
So remember this lesson, in the business terrain, It’s all ’bout decisions, don’t let ’em wane. With data as your guide, and Viventium’s grace, You’ll conquer the challenges you’ll face.