Employee records retention period: what you need to know about it

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023

In the world of Human Resources (HR), personnel files are invaluable. They contain crucial employee information ranging from contracts and salaries to reviews and training history. But how long should these records actually be kept? In this blog, we dive into the retention period for personnel records, taking into account government regulations and applicable laws. We provide insight into what you need to know.


What are personnel files?

Personnel files are structured records that contain all relevant documentation and information about an employee throughout their employment with an organization. This includes:

  • Personal information, such as name, contact information and marital status.
  • Employment contracts and supplemental agreements.
  • Payroll data and payroll.
  • Reports of performance and appraisal interviews.
  • Documentation of education and training.
  • Correspondence related to employment.
  • Any disciplinary reports or warnings.
  • Data related to leave, sick leave and disability.
  • Retention of Personnel Files.


Why is the retention period important?

Compliance with the proper retention period is critical for several reasons:

  1. Legal compliance: it avoids legal problems and penalties that can arise if data is destroyed too early.
  2. Employee protection: it ensures the protection of employees’ rights and provides them with access to their data when necessary.
  3. Business history: preserving historical data can be valuable for analyzing trends, evaluating policies and planning for the future.
  4. Security: it ensures proper security and storage of confidential information to prevent data leaks and breaches.


Managing personnel files

Effective management of personnel records is crucial to meet retention periods and privacy requirements. This includes:

  • Digitization: consider digitizing paper documents to make them secure and easily accessible.
  • Security: ensure strict security measures are in place to prevent unauthorized access to records.
  • Access control: limit access to personnel files to authorized personnel.
  • Retention policy: implement a detailed retention policy that establishes appropriate retention periods and procedures.
  • Destruction: ensure secure destruction of records that are no longer needed after the expiration of the retention period.
  • In short, properly managing and maintaining personnel records is critical to complying with legal requirements, protecting employee privacy and preserving valuable data for the organization. It is an aspect of HR that requires careful attention and compliance.


Employee records retention period

In the Netherlands, specific retention periods apply to personnel files, which vary depending on the type of information within the file. Here are some guidelines for employee file retention periods in the Netherlands:

  • Personal data: These may generally be kept for the duration of employment and up to two years after the end of employment.
  • Employment contracts and supplemental agreements: These must be kept for seven years after the end of employment.
  • Wage and salary records: These must be kept for seven years.
  • Records of performance and appraisal interviews: These may be retained for two years after the end of employment.
  • Documentation of education and training: These can usually be kept for two years after the end of employment.
  • Correspondence relating to employment: This should be retained for two years after the end of employment.
  • Any disciplinary reports or warnings: These may be retained for two years after the end of employment.
  • Records related to leave, sick leave and disability: These must be kept for two years after the end of employment.

It is important to strictly follow these retention periods to comply with legal requirements in the Netherlands. Failure to meet these deadlines can lead to legal problems and penalties. Make sure you implement a detailed retention policy and manage personnel records safely and securely throughout the retention period to protect employee privacy and ensure legal compliance.


Learned offers advanced HR software to help you effectively manage your employee records

With our intuitive tools, HR teams can effortlessly create, manage and preserve digital personnel files in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In addition, Learned allows organizations to manage access control to these records, ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive employee data. The result is a streamlined and secure way to manage and store valuable employee information.

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