Are Your Organization’s Personnel Files Adequate?

Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A personnel file should be maintained for all employees of your organization. These files hold all of the important documentation relating to the individual’s employment with the organization. A file should be kept for as long as the individual is an employee with the organization and depending on the item maybe longer. All personnel files should be kept locked in a file cabinet and made available to only individuals who have a legitimate business reason to see them.

Items to include in a personnel file include the following:

 Written job description

 Application

 Offer of employment

 Background checks

 IRS Form W‐4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate)

 State WH‐4 (State of Indiana Employee’s Withholding Exemption and County Status Certification)

 Signed acknowledgement of receipt of employee handbook

 Emergency contacts

 Performance evaluations

 Documentation for any payroll deductions (retirement, insurance, charitable contributions, etc.)

 Documentation of pay rate and any change in pay rate

There are also items that the organization needs to maintain for each employee that should be kept separate from the personnel file. These include Form I‐9. A Form I‐9 must be completed for all employees to ensure that the employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. Government agencies are allowed to review Form I‐9s and if the forms are kept in the personnel files they would have access to the additional information in the employee’s file which they do not need to see. Medical records should also be kept separate from the personnel file due to HIPPA and other legal restrictions. Medical records include insurance applications, medical leave documents, etc.

Posted by: Carrie Minnich, CPA

Posted in Mission Minded Nonprofits

Disclaimer: The information contained in Dulin, Ward & DeWald’s blog is provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice on any subject matter. Before taking any action based on this information, we strongly encourage you to consult competent legal, accounting or other professional advice about your specific situation. Questions on blog posts may be submitted to your DWD representative.

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