A revolution in employee records. What will 2019 bring us?
Poland is the sole country, where the obligatory storage term for employee files is 50 years. This is a big obstacle both in terms of logistics and the cost of document storage. In many European countries this period is just 10 years, there are also countries, such as Denmark, where the storage period is 5 years or the Netherlands where there is no obligation to archive employee records.
The new year will bring the 10-year term for storage of employee records in Poland, but this shall count from the moment the employment was terminated or ended. However one should bear in mind that this applies only to employees hired after 1 January 2019. Polish law does not work retroactively, therefore the records of all employees employed prior to that date will continue to be stored for 50 years. Businesses that commenced their activities after 1998 will have the opportunity to shorten the storage period to 10 years after submitting a information report on all relevant information to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS). According to the new regulations, the employer, along with the cessation certificate, will now provide the employee with notice of the period of records storage, and the options for collection and destruction of these records. Employees on record may opt to collect their files after the storage period. If the employee fails to opt for that, the files will be destroyed.
Till present date the personal files to date are stored in three parts and include:
- in part A – documents collected in connection with applying for employment,
- in Part B – documents regarding the establishment of an employment relationship and the course of employment
- in Part C – documents related to the termination of employment.
Changes introduced from 1 January 2019 will also include the method of storing employee records. The employee’s files will now consist of 4 parts. Part C with documents related to the termination of employment will now be included in the new part D. The C part will now contain documents connected with employee’s responsibility arising from personal duties, or duties connected workplace regulations that provide for the spending of past penalties (after a specified period of time). The separation of this part of employee records is connected with the duty to remove, from employee files, notifications of penalties in cases that are listed in art. 113 of the Labour Code or resulting from separate provisions.
Starting with the new year the employer will also be able to store employee and payroll documentation in electronic form. Businesses will be able to use this facility if they provide ZUS with information on the calculation of each employee’s retirement and pension benefits.
The new act will allow the businesses to modernize document handling processes, reduce archiving costs and allow quick access to selected documents in electronic form. It will not happen overnight, but the E-files will eventually, and rather swiftly, eliminate the storage of paper documents.