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Filing Employee Paperwork

Last Updated on November 28, 2017 / Recordkeeping


I am new to HR and there is currently no system for filing employee paperwork. Where do I even start to go through the piles?


Once you get organized, employee documentation can actually be quite easy to maintain. To start, you will need a minimum of three files: a personnel file, a confidential medical file and a confidential, non-medical file. It is important to separate medical information from non-medical information due to HIPAA privacy requirements. Using the three folder method, each should include:

Personnel File: Applications for employment, resumes, certifications, most pre-employment and new hire paperwork (see below for exceptions), payroll information, attendance records, discipline documentation, performance evaluations, training needs, and documents relating to employment decisions (promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination).

Confidential Medical File: Benefits enrollment paperwork, doctor’s excuses, FMLA or any other type of medical leave documents, disability documentation, Workers’ Compensation documents, injury reports, drug and alcohol testing, and any other form containing medical information.

Non-Medical Confidential File: Criminal or Credit Background checks, garnishments, EEO related charges or investigation documents, litigation documents, and 401k enrollment forms.

Some employers may also choose to have a separate folder for compensation or performance related matters. I-9 forms should be kept together for all employees in one binder.

Recordkeeping can be a daunting task, especially once you get behind in filing. Keeping some documents accessible, but confidential is extremely important. Strategic HR has an easy to use desktop reference to assist with managing employee documentation and record retention. Visit our HR Store page to learn more about this handy tool.