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How long should I keep employee records?

September 24, 2013

Question:

Jennifer,

How long should a medical practice hold on to employee files, whether they’ve left or still employed. I have received requests from unemployment for documentation even after the departed employee left and was hired and left the second practice. I have also had requests from new employers doing research on interviewees for hire that had worked many years ago in my office. If I shred those documents (I don’t intend to scan) then I won’t be able to remember the information they’re seeking.

Thanks, 
Dr. S

Answer:

Judge Ruth Kraft , manager of our Employment department, has provided today's answer: 

Based on the wage theft prevention act and statutes of limitations, I would say 7 years.  The annual wage statement now required in NY must be held for 6 years. 
For unemployment, the cycle is the base/alternate base period, which is 2 years maximum.
I would recommend that the practice scan the files because requests for references or allegations as to wage/hour violations can come several years down the road.  This is minimally time consuming in relation to the potential "insurance" it can produce.
Nothing should be discarded from files of active employees, regardless of the length of employment.

Have an employment question?  Contact Judge Kraft at (516) 747-6700 x. 326 or at RKraft@Kirschenbaumesq.com

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