It’s time to go electronic with your personnel file management.
Everyone knows that one day your company won’t have cabinets full of paper personnel files. It may seem like a lot of work to scan them into an electronic filing system. Your day is already full of administrative chores, payroll entries, benefit enrollments, recruiting and hiring, and you never seem to have time to begin to research your options. Here are three compelling reasons to make ‘going paperless a priority in 2015:
1. Maximum fines and penalties. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency that conducts I-9 audits, is on the prowl. Retention rules for I-9s are easy to say, but meticulous in practice. You must keep them in a separate file, and retain them for three years, or one year after termination. How often do you make time to destroy the ones that have met the retention schedule? Are the dates on the I-9 in the complete and proper format? If you have I-9s on site, they are all subject to an audit, even if they are beyond their retention date. Remember ICE is auditing more than ever, and seeking max fines and penalties for each non-compliant form.
2. Access to sensitive information. Ask yourself, “Who has access to protected employee information?” How easy is it for someone to walk in, grab a file, and possibly steal an identity or apply for a credit card with the information they get? Breaches in security are highly damaging for the employee and the company. In an electronic system, access and security are more easily protected.
3. Adverse claims. Let’s face it, if an employee files a complaint with an enforcement agency (EEOC, Wage and Hour, Workforce Commission, etc.), the case is determined by documentation. The best practice is to review a personnel file prior to making an employment decision, ensure that your documentation is in order, and then proceed with your business decision. Electronic filing systems can prompt for missing documents, notify you if a document is going to expire, and allow for levels of HR review before a document becomes part of a personnel file. The simpler, more automated your process, the more likely you are to have what you need, and have eliminated what you don’t.
The technology is available, and the countdown to charge or face an audit is running. Make the time in 2015 to address this important compliance issue.