business of Medicine


Employment Practices Toolkit

July 26, 2019

Federal law on record-keeping


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity regulations require that employers keep all personnel or employment records for one year. If an employee is involuntarily terminated, his/her personnel records must be retained for one year from the date of termination.

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act recordkeeping requirements, employers must also keep all payroll records for three years. Additionally, 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 one year after its termination.

Under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) recordkeeping requirements applicable to the Equal Pay Act, employers must keep payroll records for at least three years. In addition, employers must keep for at least two years 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.

Employers must retain an employee’s completed Form I-9 for as long as the individual works for the employer. Once the individual’s employment has terminated, the employer must determine how long after termination the Form I-9 must be retained, which is either three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment is terminated, whichever is later.

An employee’s personnel records, medical records and I-9 Form (and related documents) must be maintained in three separate files.

For states that have more stringent record keeping requirements than those discussed above, the state requirements must be followed.

If an employer has a threatened or actual legal claim pending against it, all relevant records must be kept for the duration of the claim.

Article created by Jackson Lewis and republished here with permission.


The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.