Employee files - changes in employee files from 2019

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On February 5, an act was signed reducing the need to keep employee files from 50 to 10 years. It will also be possible for employee files to be stored electronically. Although the act was originally to enter into force at the beginning of 2018, the new regulations will enter into force on January 1, 2019. It is also worth mentioning the draft of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy regarding the regulation on employee documentation, which is to introduce changes in the keeping of personal files in 2019.

Benefits of introducing new regulations

The benefits of introducing the act are, above all, considerable savings. Entrepreneurs will bear lower costs related to the storage of documentation, which will significantly relieve office space. The second benefit that the act should bring is greater security of the employee's interests and the shortening of the time needed to search for documents. Until now, it was the employee who had to submit the necessary documentation to ZUS, now it is assumed that ZUS will have full knowledge and documentation regarding a given employee and it will be up to him to collect them, and not the employee as before.

Employee files - storage

The employer, as regulated by the act, will have to keep employee documentation in a manner that guarantees its confidentiality, integrity, completeness and availability. He will be able to keep the documents in paper or electronic form for the period of employment, but under conditions that are not threatening to damage. After the employment period, the employer will, in principle, be obliged to keep files for 10 years, counting from the end of the calendar year in which the employment relationship was terminated or expired, unless separate regulations provide otherwise.

Files of dismissed workers

If the employment relationship with the same employee is re-established within 10 years of the dismissal, the employer will continue to keep files for that employee, based on the existing employee documentation. Upon termination of work by the employee, the employer should, together with the certificate, provide the employee with information in paper or electronic form about:

  • the period of storing employee documentation,

  • the possibility for an employee to collect employee documentation by the end of the calendar month following the expiry of the storage period for employee documentation,

  • destruction of employee documentation if it is not collected within the prescribed period.

The employer will be obliged to destroy the employee documentation within 12 months after the expiry of the period intended for its collection by the employee.

Form of keeping files

The employer will have a choice in what form he wants to keep the documentation and will be able to change its form at any time:

  • In the event of a change from paper to electronic form, the employer will have to prepare a digital reproduction, which must be affixed with a qualified electronic signature confirming the compliance of the reproduction with the paper document.

  • In the event of changing the form of documentation from electronic to paper, the employer will have to prepare printouts and sign them with a signature confirming the compliance of the printout with the electronic document.

10 years, but is it for all employees?

Not all employee files can be kept for 10 years. The following division was used according to the criterion of employment of employees:

  • files of employees employed before 1 January 1999 - in this case, it will not be possible to store files for less than 50 years;

  • files of employees employed in the period from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2018 - in this case, whether the employer will keep files for 10 or 50 years will depend on his decision. In order to shorten the period of keeping records, the employer will be required to submit a ZUS RIA information report for each employee to ZUS. It will be a summary of information about the insured and the basis for calculating benefits;

  • files of employees employed from January 2019 - files of people from this group will be kept for 10 years. The employer will send information regarding the employee's income automatically every month.

The amendment regarding the storage of employee files and their digitization is part of the package of acts "100 changes for companies", which are designed to facilitate business for entrepreneurs and change the entrepreneur-administration relationship to a more friendly, partner-like and simplified one.

Changes in employee documentation

The draft regulation on employee documentation assumes that from 2019 the employee's personal files will consist of not 3, but 4 parts.A separate part D will contain documents related to the employee's liability for order or liability specified in separate regulations. Personal files will consist of:

  • part A (documents related to applying for employment),

  • part B (documents related to entering into an employment relationship and the course of employment),

  • part C (documents relating to termination of employment),

  • part D (documents related to the employee's liability for order or liability specified in separate provisions).

The regulation makes it possible to divide some of the personal files into smaller ones related to each other thematically and numbering them sequentially: A1, B1, C1, D1. In such cases, the documents must be numbered and kept in chronological order in individual parts, and a list of them should be created for each part.

In the presented draft, an additional obligation was imposed on the employer to store other types of documents separately for each employee - they will constitute employee documentation.

In conclusion, the regulations that enter into force on 1 January 2019 are intended to introduce many facilitation of employee files. The biggest change is the ability to choose the form of storing employee documentation. Thanks to the new regulations, it will also be possible to shorten the storage period for employee documents.