No need to retain employment documents for a half of a century

On the 22nd of January, the Marshal of the Sejm sent over for the President to sign the Act of 10 January 2018. It introduces significant changes to the principles of managing employee documentation by employers, shortening the retention time of employee files as well as introducing the option of digitalisation.

The most significant changes include:

a) shortening the retention period for documents concerning employment relationships and employee personal files from 50 to 10 years;
b) the possibility of managing these records in digital form.
The shortening of the retention period of documentation will be tied to the expected increase in information being provided by the employer to ZUS. In addition, the legislator made the exercise of these amended rules conditional on the particular start date of employment:
1. In the case of employment relationships established before 1 January 1999, there shall be no changes. The employer will still be required to keep employee records for 50 years.
2. For employees who have established an employment relationship after December 31, 1998, and before January 1, 2019, the rule will be to keep records for 50 years from the date of termination or expiration of the employment relationship. Shortening this period to 10 years will be possible if the employer submits a detailed information report to the Social Security Institution (pol: ZUS).
3. Employment relationships established from January 1, 2019 will be fully covered by the new rules for the storage of employee files.
The new Act also allows employers to keep and store employee documentation in digital form. Changing the form of employee documentation from paper to electronic format (eg. a scan) will require a qualified electronic signature or a qualified electronic seal, which is a significant practical obstacle for entrepreneurs in the digitisation of documentation. The employer should also notify employees when making these kinds of changes.
The prevailing part of the Act will enter into force as of January 1, 2019. However, it is worth considering the upcoming changes in the process of adapting the organization to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, pol: RODO), in particular when preparing privacy policies for employees, updating procedures concerning management of employee documentation and setting retention periods for the storage of personal data.
You will find specific details on the Act here (Polish version).
Should you have any questions relating to these changes, please contact our team.