As an employer, you’re required to maintain employee records for each member of staff. These confidential records must be kept during and after employment for a set amount of time.
There are different ways in which you can maintain these details. But, how long you can keep employee records varies across Canada.
In this guide, we’ll look at how to maintain your employee records effectively, why making sure they’re accurate is important, and, how long you can keep these details.
What is Employee Record Keeping?
Employee file record keeping means retaining information about your staff. These details are kept as a legal requirement.
You need to maintain two types of employee records, they are:
- Personnel: Past employment history, hiring documents, performance reviews, emergency contact information and a signed employee handbook/contract. Keeping these documents show that your company is fair and unbiased.
- Payroll: Hours worked by employees, Canada Pension Plan contributions, Employment Insurance premiums and taxes. Make sure you retain the TD1 Personal Tax Credit Forms filled out by your employees.
How to Maintain Employee Records
How you retain your employee records is a personal choice, often depending on the size of the company. The following are all options to consider:
- Physical Records: Popular with small companies with only a handful of employees. You may choose to use forms to record employee details. However, this method is less secure, with forms being easier to misplace.
- Spreadsheets: This method offers another layer of security to paper forms and filing cabinets. It’s often easier to find specific information on individual employees by using this method.
- Online HR Software: Employee records can be saved on a cloud-based HR software platform. This method is highly secure and is often used for larger companies with a high number of employees.
Make your employees aware that they must inform you of any changes to their address or emergency contact. The last thing you want is not being able to contact their family in case of emergency.
As well as using the effective method in recording your employee’s details, it’s important the records you’re keeping are accurate.
Why is Keeping Accurate Employee Records Important?
Alongside it being a legal requirement, making sure your employee records are accurate is crucial.
Keeping accurate records can help with future recruitment, save time with admin and identify gaps in employees’ skills. All whilst ensuring competency for your business.
If termination of employment leads to legal action, accurate employee records can be used as evidence to prevent litigation.
How Long do Employers Keep Employees Records in Ontario?
All employers are legally required to keep written records of each person hired in Ontario.
Below are the employee records keeping requirements:
- Employee’s name, address and starting date of employment must be kept for three years after the employment stops. For employees under 18, their date of birth must be kept for three years after their 18th birthday or three years after employment stops – depending on which happens first.
- The hours, rate and time worked must be kept on record for three years. This includes regular and any overtime agreements.
- Records of any vacation timed earned but not taken must be made and kept on file for five years after they’re made.
- You must keep a record of any vacation pay earned and paid during the vacation entitlement year.
This information must also be kept for five years:
- All documents relating to leaves taken.
- Information contained in the employee’s wage statement.
How Long do Employers Keep Employee Records in Alberta?
You must keep any records of employment and your employees for at least three years from the date of each record being made. These include but are not limited to:
- Regular and overtime hours worked, along with overtime pay rates.
- Details of vacation taken, the date it started and finished, and the period of employment when the vacation was earned.
- Employee’s name, address, date of birth and the date in which employment started.
- Records of leaves, temporary layoffs and signed employee handbook/training.
How Long do Employers Keep Employee Records in BC?
Employers are legally required to keep all records of their employees on file for four years after they have been made.
However, for any averaging agreements made – these records must be kept for four years after the expiry date.
The following should be recorded:
- The employee’s name, date of birth, job title, phone number and address.
- The date when employment started, plus their wage and hours worked each day.
- Their wage, benefits paid and deductions from employees’ wages.
- Any vacation that’s been taken and vacation pay paid, along with statutory holiday pay.
Get help with your employee record retention with BrightHR
Keeping your employee records on file is important to your business. It allows you to meet the legal requirement to do so, as well help with any potential training needed.
Make sure you include all your employee records securely; this increases your employee’s confidence in you.
If you need assistance with your employee record retention, BrightHR has a handy tool that will make the whole process easier for you.
Our HR document storage tool allows you to store your employee records on the cloud for you to make changes whenever required.