How long should you keep HR records?

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Knowing what to keep and for how long can be bewildering. If you don’t have a well organised storage (filing) system in place, and a retention process, not only is retrieval difficult – you could potentially be subject to large fines.


The Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to records held in both paper and digital format. Data must not be kept any longer than is necessary – so it’s not enough to just “keep hold of everything” – you need to effectively destroy your records in a timely manner too.


How long should you keep your records for?


There are statutory requirements (from several different bodies) as well as recommended guidance for good practice. Employers should regularly review the length of time data is kept for, considering its purpose. Certain records, such as employment contracts for example, could be required in a legal action, therefore it is important to consider these legal timescales when deciding how long to keep records for.


I recommend establishing a process to regularly review (audit) what data is held, how it is stored and when and how it is updated, archived and destroyed. It is a good idea to have a document retention checklist to refer to and incorporate into your wider processes as appropriate.


We support businesses by providing practical solutions to HR compliance. For assistance with any of the issues raised in this article, please get in touch.



Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this information, My Office Fairy cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions and the information is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.


If you need support with any aspect of your business, My Office Fairy are here to help so just get in touch.

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