The majority of employers already maintain personnel files for each employee – but many do not meet the new standard under the recent amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000. Many personnel files that I have seen contain little more than the original job application and CV and a copy of the signed employment agreement.
But from 1 July, here’s what must be contained in each personnel file:
- Signed copies of employment agreements;
- Copies of intended employment agreements that have been provided to employees – even if they have not ultimately been agreed;
- Copies of any policies, handbooks, terms or conditions that apply to the employee.
In theory Labour Inspectors are charged with ensuring compliance with these new requirements. But it doesn’t seem very likely that they’ll come knocking on the door. More likely, non-compliance would come to light if there was an employment relations problem that found its way to mediation or to the employment relations authority. In those circumstances, non-compliance is not a great look. And on that note, maximum penalties for non-compliance have increased to $20,000.
We recommend that employers go further than the new minimum requirements and include the following documents in each employee’s personnel file – and that these documents are also scanned and saved electronically.
- The job advertisement
- Intended position description
- Job application and CV
- Interview notes
- References and reference check notes
- Any skills testing you may have conducted pre job offer
- Any intended employment agreements provided to the employee. Be mindful that under the recent amendments to the ERA, an employer who provides an employee with a defective employment agreement is liable for a penalty
- Any correspondence or notes in relation to negotiating amendments to the intended agreement
- A signed copy of the final letter of offer and employment agreement along with any signed variations over time
- Copies of any policies, handbooks, terms or conditions that apply to the employee
- Employee contact details, emergency contact details
- Signed IR330 form
- Copy of the KiwiSaver information provided along with any covering letter
- Any correspondence in relation to KiwiSaver – including any opt-out form
- Copy of the induction programme followed
- Any induction material provided to the employee
- If a trial period applies, copies and notes from the 30, 60 and 90 day reviews
- Copies and notes from periodic performance reviews
- A record of any career development plans agreed
- A log of any training undertaken
- Notes of any salary reviews
- Notes from any meetings or discussions around salary
- Any correspondence relating to salary or salary increases
- A record of any disciplinary correspondence, interview notes, investigations, warnings or mediation records
- Any grievance forms, records of meetings and correspondence in relation to any grievances
- Letter of resignation
- Termination notice if applicable
- Notes from any exit interview
- Reference provided
And of course, proper leave and pay records must be also maintained. Remember also that the contents of a personnel file must be made available to your employee on their request.