Chapter 6:
Personnel Record Retention Requirements
California State Labor Laws

Updated as of June 2006



Records Which Must Be Preserved By The Employer

Length Of Time Records Must Be Maintained

1. Fair Employment Practices Act

(Gov. Code Sec 12946)

All employment records and files such as applications, personnel, membership, employment, referral, test results, interview forms, and rejection notes. California Employer Information Report

(Solicited resumes: 2 years)

Two (2) years or in case of a verified complaint all files and records until final disposition of the charge.

2. Gratuities

(Labor Code Section 353)

Accurate records of all gratuities received, whether directly from employee or indirectly by means of deductions from their wages or otherwise. See Note #1 (Bottom of Personnel Record Retention Requirements - Federal).

3. Employment of Men, Women and Minors

(Labor Code Section 1174)

All payroll records showing hours worked daily and wages paid to all employees, names and
addresses of employees employed, and ages of all minors.
Two (2) years.

4. Equal Pay

(Labor Code Section 1197.5)

Records showing wages, wage rates, job classification and other terms and conditions of employment for all employees. Two (2) years.

5. Employment of Minors

(Labor Code Sections 1299 & 1300)

Separate register containing names, ages and addresses of minor employees; file of all permits and certificates either to work or employ. Certificates to work or employ must be returned to issuing authority within five (5) days after minor quits his employment All other records should be kept according to Note #1.

6.Wages Paid – Public Works Contract

(Labor Code Section 1776)

Records showing the name, address, social security number, work classification, straight time and overtime hours worked each day and week, and the actual per diem wages paid to each worker in connection with any public
See Note #1 (Bottom of Personnel Record Retention Requirements - Federal).

7. Hours Worked – Public Works Contract

(Labor Code Section 1812)

Records which show the name of and the actual hours worked by each worker each calendar day and week. See Note #1 (Bottom of Personnel Record Retention Requirements - Federal).

8. Industrial Homeworkers

(Labor Code Section 2665)

A. Full name and address of each homeworker employed.

B. Amount and description of materials delivered to each industrial home worker with date of delivery and rate of compensation.

C. Gross amount of compensation paid to each industrial homeworker and date of payment.

D. Names and addresses of all agents or independent contractors to whom he has delivered materials or articles for manufacture by industrial homework together with quantity, description of materials and date of delivery.

E. Names and addresses of all manufacturers or independent contractors to whom he has received articles on materials together with quantity, description of materials and date of receipt.

See Note #1 (Bottom of Personnel Record Retention Requirements - Federal).

9. Unemployment Insurance Code


A. The period covered by the payroll.

B. For each employee:

  1. Employee’s name and status, i.e. employed, on layoff or leave of absence;
  2. Social Security Number;
  3. The date on which he was hired, rehired, or returned to work after temporary layoff, and the date when his name was removed from the payroll;
  4. The place of his work which shall be shown in accordance with such forms and instructions as the department may approve.

C. The wages paid to each employee for each payroll period showing separately:

  1. Money wages including cash tips and gratuities;
  2. Cash value of all other remuneration received from his employer;
  3. Special payments in cash or kind for service other than those rendered exclusively in given pay period such as annual bonuses, gifts, prizes, etc., showing the nature of such payments and the period during which the services were performed for which such special payments were made.

D. Such other information as may be necessary to enable the employing unit to determine the employees’ total wages earned in each week.

Four (4) years after the period to which the records relate.

10. Industrial Welfare Commission Orders


A. Every employer shall keep accurate information with respect to each employee as follows:

  1. Full name, home address, occupation and social security number;
  2. Birth date, if under 18 years, and designation as a minor;
  3. Time records showing when the employee begins and ends each work period. Meal periods, split shift intervals and total daily hours worked shall also be maintained;
  4. Total wages paid each payroll period, including value of board, lodging, or other compensation actually furnished to the employee;
  5. Total hours worked in payroll period and applicable rates of pay;
  6. When a piece rate or incentive plan is in operation, piece rates or an explanation of the incentive plan formula shall be provided to employees. An accurate production record shall be maintained by the employer.

B. All required records shall be in the English language and printed in ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing month, day
and year, and shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the place of employment or at a central location within the State of California. An employee's records shall be available for inspection by the employee upon reasonable request.

Three (3) years.

11. Occupational Safety & Health Act of California 1973


A. Log and summary of occupational injuries and illnesses (OSHA 300); or Workers Compensation Employer’s First Report of Industrial Injury; Summary occupational injuries and illnesses (OSHA 300).

B. See Federal item #12 and Note #4. (Bottom of Personnel Record Retention Requirements - Federal)

* Beginning Using January 2002.

Five (5) years following the end of the calendar year to which they relate.

12. Injury, Illness Prevention Plan - IIPP

(California Code, Title 8 Section 3203)

Records of the steps taken to implement and maintain the IIPP. The records must include
the following:

A. Inspection Records including:

  1. Scheduled and periodic inspections.
  2. Person conducting the inspection.
  3. The unsafe conditions and work practices that have been identified.
  4. The action taken to correct the identified unsafe condition and work practices.

B. Training Records including:

  1. The employee’s name or other identifier.
  2. Training dates.
  3. Types of training.
  4. Training providers.

An additional exception to the training records requirement exists for employees who have worked for an employer for less than one year. Training records of such employees need not be retained beyond the term of their employment if they are provided to the employees upon termination of employment.

One (1) year. Employers with fewer than (10) employees need only maintain the inspection records until the hazard is corrected.





One (1) year. Employers with fewer than (10) employees can "substantially comply" by maintaining a log of instruction provided to its employees with respect to the hazard unique to the employees' job assignment when they are first hired or assigned new duties.


Notes on Record Retention Requirements (California and Federal)

Note #1: No definite time period is specified by law.

Note #2:When record keeping requirements overlap, the longest record retention requirement prevails.

Note #3: It is recommended that any time a complaint or charge has been filed with a governmental agency that all personnel records relevant to the charge be preserved until the final disposition of the case.

Note #4: California will have to meet these same requirements as the federal law requires self administering states to be at least as effective as the federal law.

Note #5: For a complete and detailed analysis of record retention requirements under federal laws, refer to "Guide to Record Retention Requirements" for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.


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