Payroll documentation - how to keep and store it?


One of the basic obligations of the employer is to keep and store all documentation related to the employment and course of work of employees. It results directly from the provisions of the Labor Code. In order for the employer to be able to duly fulfill this obligation, he should have knowledge of what documents should be collected and for how long they should be kept. Payroll documentation is primarily sources of law and decision-making acts, employee documents and periodic supporting and calculation documentation.

Payroll documentation - i.e. decision-making acts

Decision-making acts define the basic principles for determining and calculating amounts due in force in a specific workplace. This group includes the collective labor agreement and the remuneration regulations. Payroll documentation also includes:

  • regulations governing the issues of remuneration, i.e. normative acts (the Labor Code, the Civil Code, acts and regulations creating
  • labor law, civil law, social and health insurance law, pension law and tax law in the field of payroll matters),
  • official interpretations of the above-mentioned regulations,
  • court judgments in payroll matters,
  • legal opinions on specific remuneration matters,
  • resolutions, ordinances, decisions of the company's bodies on payroll policy, employment and payroll plans and other payroll matters - group and individual,
  • issued certificates in matters of remuneration,
  • reporting on employment and payroll,
  • payroll analyzes, reports, expert opinions, conclusions,
  • payroll correspondence (letters, applications, appeals, replies).

In all workplaces, the documents confirming the establishment of the employment relationship and the determination of the remuneration are employment contracts or other equivalent acts.They contain a joint declaration of will of the employer and the employee regarding the conclusion of an employment relationship. The parties agree on the terms and amount of remuneration for work. Payroll documentation on employee wages is also:

  • agreement on the application of less favorable terms of employment,
  • agreement to suspend the application of labor law,
  • termination of working conditions or pay,
  • judgments of the labor court,
  • annexes to employment contracts regarding remuneration,
  • separate bonus and reward regulations,
  • decisions to award bonuses or prizes,
  • decisions on granting severance pay and / or compensation,
  • other decision-making acts regarding the remuneration of employees.

Periodic computational and auxiliary documentation

Calculation and periodic auxiliary payroll documentation is the basis for drawing up the payroll for a given month. Depending on the pay systems and the forms of remuneration used, there is a need to document the time: worked, not working, sick, paid and unpaid leave, caring for a child or other family member, overtime work (with the right to 50% or 100% of the allowance) , night work, on-call duty, etc. It is important to document the justified and unexcused absences, occasional leaves, types of leaves, business trips (domestic and foreign).

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Computational and auxiliary payroll documentation is also:

  • an attendance list with a full specification of days or days and hours of work and with a breakdown into the reasons for absence from work,
  • hourly work reports (if the working time in hours is the basis for calculating the remuneration),
  • personal work cards (if they are used to settle the working time and / or the results of the work performed),
  • documents confirming the work performed and its effects, e.g. in the form of reports or a set) piecework, commission or task work,
  • overtime work orders and confirmation of the performance of this work,
  • documents confirming night work,
  • sick leave certifying the employee's illness or the need to care for a child or family member,
  • documents confirming the use of annual, unpaid, maternity, parental leave or occasional leave (paid or unpaid),
  • documents required for social insurance benefits (settled and paid by the workplace or transferred to a ZUS facility),
  • settlement of bonus tasks and decisions on granting bonuses to employees,
  • decisions on awarding prizes, severance pay, equivalents and compensation,
  • statements, certificates and other evidence entitling to apply tax deductible costs, tax relief, allowances and subsidies.

Payroll documentation is prepared by the HR services or superiors, but the method of calculating salaries also depends on the employees. By submitting appropriate declarations, they influence the method of calculating the advance tax or ZUS contributions. Such statements include:

  • statement for the purpose of calculating the monthly advance payment for personal income tax - PIT-2,
  • a statement for the purposes of applying increased tax deductible costs,
  • a declaration for the purpose of partially abandoning the collection of an advance on personal income tax,
  • a declaration for the collection of an increased advance on personal income tax,
  • a declaration of the amount of the basis for the calculation of contributions to retirement and disability pension insurance from another source in a given calendar year.


On the basis of the above-mentioned payroll documentation, payrolls are prepared every month. In practice, they can be drawn up more often, e.g. every two weeks, every week, every 10 days, and at any time to pay additional salary components, such as: bonuses, awards, severance pay, compensations, equivalents, adjustments, etc.
The payroll should contain some permanent elements, such as:

  • employer's name,
  • page numbers,
  • designation or name of the payroll,
  • the month it relates to,
  • date of preparation,
  • signatures of the author and approver.

In companies employing a large number of employees, in addition to the name and surname, an additional employee ID should be placed on the payroll (eg PESEL, NIP), thanks to which you can avoid mistakes in the case of duplicate surnames and names.

Due to the number of remuneration components and obligations related to contributions for retirement, disability, sickness and health insurance, as well as tax obligations, the payroll may be more or less developed. A universal payroll should consist of the following items:

  • wages covered by social security contributions:
    • basic salary,
    • permanent additions,
    • bonus / reward,
    • commission,
    • chord,
  • non-contributory wages, including for the time of illness,
  • sickness and accident insurance benefits, e.g .:
    • sick,
    • maternal,
    • protective,
  • sum of all revenues,
  • basis for calculating social security contributions:
    • basis for retirement and disability pension contributions,
    • basis for sickness contribution,
  • social security contributions:
    • pension,
    • disability,
    • sick,
  • the basis of the health insurance contribution,
  • health insurance contribution, broken down into:
    • health premium of 9%,
    • health insurance contribution of 7.75%,
  • tax deductible costs,
  • the tax base,
  • tax relief,
  • advance on personal income tax:
    • before the deduction of the health insurance contribution,
    • after deduction of health insurance premium,
  • net salary,
  • deductions from remuneration, broken down into different types,
  • the amount to be withdrawn or transferred to the ROR,
  • payment receipt.

This list structure is very important when it is filled out manually. There are certain "transitional items" on it, which do not have to be included on it, because they are neither components of the remuneration nor amounts deducted from this remuneration. However, they influence the setting of subsequent values, and their presence is mainly aimed at facilitating the calculations and their self-control. The payroll is the source material for the preparation of other payroll documentation, i.e. payroll card, income card and benefit card. All data including payroll, data from the records of working time and employment should be successively transferred to the appropriate card every month.

Personal payroll cards

The employer is obliged to set up and run, separately for each employee, a personal card of paid remuneration and other benefits "related to work. The card allows the employer to control the implementation of employee rights, and the employee to check whether he has received all the benefits due to him.

Earnings cards are used to determine the amount of remuneration an employee is entitled to, taking into account its individual components, that is:

  • basic salary,
  • overtime pay,
  • additional remuneration,
  • bonus,
  • sick pay,
  • other components of remuneration and benefits from the employment relationship.

The personal remuneration card, supplemented with tax and contribution charges, constitutes all the information required and necessary for the proper preparation of insurance and tax documentation.

Revenue card for tax purposes

The regulations do not contain a predetermined template for an income card. They only specify that it should contain:

  • name and surname of the employee,
  • Tax Identification Number (NIP),
  • PESEL number,
  • the month in which the payment was made,
  • the sum of gross revenues achieved in a given month (in cash and in kind),
  • tax deductible costs,
  • social security contributions, i.e. retirement, disability and sickness insurance,
  • the basis for calculating the advance payment in a given month,
  • total income cumulative from the beginning of the year (employers have to control whether employees have not exceeded the next threshold of the tax scale),
  • the amount of the advance payment for income tax,
  • health insurance premium,
  • date of transferring the advance payment to the account of the competent tax office,
  • income earned in a given month.

In addition, it should include information on the employee's declaration for the purpose of calculating monthly personal income tax advances, as well as information on the tax reduction in connection with the joint settlement of spouses or single parents. The above data is the minimum information. The employer can always expand their scope in the manner desired for him. Data from the personal payroll card kept for tax purposes (income cards) are used by the employer to prepare the PIT-11 tax information and the annual tax calculation on the PIT-40 form.

Income card for insurance purposes

The payroll card for insurance purposes should contain:

  • name and surname of the employee,
  • Tax Identification Number (NIP),
  • PESEL number,
  • the month in which the payment was made,
  • the sum of the gross income achieved in a given month (contributory and non-contributory),
  • the basis for social contributions,
  • the basis for old-age and disability pension contributions,
  • social security contributions, i.e. retirement, disability and sickness insurance,
  • the basis for health insurance,
  • health insurance premium (deducted from salary and tax),
  • the amount of benefits paid.

The employment-related information, i.e. date of employment, position, number of working hours, amount and type of salary should be included in the payroll card for insurance purposes. It should also contain an annotation about the income from another source, constituting the basis for ZUS contributions. The above information is necessary for the correct determination of the basis for the retirement and disability pension contribution in the event of exceeding the limit amount. Data from the personal payroll card kept for insurance and pension purposes are used by the employer to prepare information and settlement declarations to the Social Insurance Institution as well as the employment and remuneration certificate (ZUS Rp-7), as an attachment to the pension application incapacity for work.

Payroll documentation - storage

Both personal and payroll files must be kept for 50 years, which results from pension regulations, labor law and archiving documentation. The workplace is obliged to keep payrolls, payroll cards or other evidence on the basis of which the basis for the calculation of the old-age or disability pension is determined, for a period of 50 years from the date of termination of work with a given employer. These other types of evidence are personal files as well as contracts and bills for commissioned work, with social security contributions. The remaining payroll documentation is subject to shorter storage according to the actual own needs and the requirements specified in the provisions on accounting, income tax, social and health insurance as well as in the Tax Ordinance and other normative acts. Supporting and calculation documentation used to prepare payrolls, other than accounting evidence, may be stored for 5 years. It is sufficient to keep copies of issued payroll certificates and their registers for 3 years. Short-term storage (up to 5 years) of payroll files may take place in the storehouse of accounting files or in the storehouse of personal files. Further storage (from 5 to 50 years) must be in a particularly guarded, fully secured place, inaccessible to unauthorized persons. An own company archive or a foreign archive authorized to provide this type of service is suitable for this purpose. Documentation should be stored in conditions ensuring its proper protection against damage and theft.

On the other hand, the detailed conditions to be met by the rooms in which the payroll documentation created by employers may be kept are specified in the regulation of February 15, 2005 on the conditions for storing employers' personal and payroll documentation. Buildings, in which the documentation is stored, should be located on dry, non-landslide ground, located above the flood level of nearby rivers or other water reservoirs, and have convenient access for law enforcement and rescue vehicles. The room for storing documentation must not be damp and must not be located in an unadapted basement or in the attic of the building. It should be equipped with a fireproof door and a fire signaling and alarm system, and should be protected against burglary by means of an anti-burglary system or otherwise appropriate for the given room. Moreover, no water, sewage and gas installations may be run through the rooms where the documentation is kept. These rooms must not contain objects and devices other than those directly related to its storage, and the use of paints and varnishes containing formaldehyde, xylene or toluene is prohibited. In the rooms where the documentation produced on a paper carrier is kept, special humidity and temperature conditions specified in the annex to the regulation should be maintained. These conditions should be checked daily and the results recorded. On the other hand, documentation prepared on a carrier other than paper should be protected against dust, infection of mold fungi and damage caused by insects and rodents. In rooms where the documentation is kept, fluorescent lamps with reduced UV radiation emission should be used as artificial light sources. You should also eliminate sunlight by using curtains, blinds, glass, or UV protection film.

The breach by the employer of the obligation to keep employee records, including payroll records, constitutes an offense against the employee's rights resulting in the imposition of sanctions by labor inspectors (fine). In addition, the handling of employee documentation (including payroll documentation) is assessed in terms of compliance with the provisions of the Act on the Protection of Personal Data. And so, who, when administering a data set or being obliged to protect personal data, makes it available or allows access to it by unauthorized persons, is subject to a fine, imprisonment or imprisonment for up to 2 years. freedom up to a year. If, on the other hand, when administering data, it violates, even unintentionally, the obligation to protect them against unauthorized removal, damage or destruction, they are subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to one year.