Statutory retention periods for HR documents

For many types of HR records there is no definitive retention period and it is up to the employer to decide the length of time that they will keep documents for. However, there are specific legislative provisions that require certain records to be kept for minimum periods of time.

Some of the main UK legislative provisions regulating statutory retention periods include:

  • Prevention of Illegal Working: eligibility to work documents must be retained and stored securely for the duration of the individual’s employment and for a further two years after they have left the organisation.
  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR): required by law to keep for at least 3 years from the date of reports of serious workplace accidents, the diagnosis of occupational diseases and incidents of specified dangerous occurrences.
  • Working Time Regulations 1998: Required by law to keep working time records for a period of 2 years from the date on which the records were made to show that the maximum weekly limits are being complied with.
  • National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015: required by law to keep records for a period of 3 years after the end of the pay reference period, following the one that the records cover proving that national minimum wages are being paid.
  • Statutory Maternity Pay (General) Regulations 1986: required by law to keep statutory maternity pay records for a period of 3 years after the end of the tax year in which the maternity pay period ends, including the Mat B1.
  • Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (Administration) Regulations 2002: required by law to keep statutory paternity and adoption pay records for a period of 3 years after the end of the tax year in which the pay period ends.
  • Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982: required by law to keep statutory sick pay (SSP) records for at least 3 years after the end of the tax year to which they relate. Including records of dates of the employees’ periods of incapacity for work and records of all payments of SSP made during that period.
  • Income Tax (Employments) Regulations 1993: required by law to keep pay-related records for income tax and national insurance purposes for no less than 3 years after the end of the financial year to which they relate.

This list of statutory retention periods of documents is not exhaustive. In some cases, records may be required to be retained for several decades. For example, in the case of health records under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 where an employee has been, or is liable to be, exposed to a substance hazardous to health, the statutory retention period is 40 years from the date of the last entry.

121 HR Solutions can be contacted at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk.

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