• SJ Huntley - My Office Fairy

HR records - what are they?

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

"Remember! If it is not written down, it was not done."

A huge part of ensuring compliance is keeping detailed, accurate records. If you haven't got a record of having done something, you have no proof it took place. This is particularly important in an employment tribunal scenario where, once the proof of the claim has been established by the employee, the burden of evidence is with the employer to prove they have acted properly, and in accordance with their own policies and procedures.

In this case, what should you keep in your files, how do you know what you need?


Typically, an HR file will hold:

  • personal information - date of birth, address, bank details, NI number

  • copies of letters and/or emails

  • reward data - pay, bonus, benefits

  • training records

  • absence data - holiday, sickness,

  • disciplinary / grievance information

  • emergency contact details

  • performance reviews

  • terms and conditions of employment

  • qualification information

  • role definitions

  • policy acknowledgements

  • flexible working requests and outcomes


Ideally, your records will be dated and consistent. You will be able to create a timeline of pay and bonus records for example. Where you are making decisions that relate to whether or not an employee is receiving a pay increase, or a bonus for example, you will keep a record of that decision making process, and what the criteria was.


HR records should be audited regularly to ensure the personal data you hold is valid - ie accurate and not out of date, that you are not keeping any records for longer than you need to, and that you are not missing any key documents.


If you would like any more advice or assistance regarding your HR files, The Office Fairy is here to help. Get in touch at sj@office-fairy.co.uk to talk about what you need.

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