New rules for maintaining personal files of employees

Publication / 19.02.2019

On January 1, 2019 expired the Ordinance of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of May 28, 1996 on the scope of employers’ record-keeping in matters related to the employment relationship and the manner of keeping employee personnel files. This act was replaced by the Ordinance of the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy of December 10, 2018 on employee records.

The main change that the new ordinance introduces is a reorganization of the way personal files are maintained. In the new legal state, the file is divided into four, rather than three parts, as was previously the case. In addition to “Part A” concerning the stage of application for employment, “Part B” concerning the stage of establishment of the employment relationship and the course of employment, and “Part C” concerning the stage of termination of the employment relationship, the legislator has also provided for “Part D” covering documents concerning penalties imposed. Within each part, it is possible to separate smaller parts in which documents related to each other thematically can be kept, with the proviso, however, that the files invariably must be kept in chronological order.

The Ordinance also stipulates “employee records” other than personal files, including but not limited to: time-keeping documents, documents related to applying for and taking leave, pay slips, and records of employee clothing and footwear. Since the entry into force of the new Ordinance, the employer has the option of choosing to keep employee records in paper or electronic form. An employer who chooses to keep records in electronic form can do so at any time – immediately after the amendment comes into effect or even after several years. Importantly, the records of employees who the employer no longer employs, but whose records are still kept with him, can also be kept in this form. The regulation also resolve doubts about the employer’s obligation to keep original employee documents. If a personal file is kept in paper form, the employer may keep certified copies or copies of such documents. If a paper document is attached to a file maintained electronically, it is necessary to prepare a scan of the document, affix a qualified electronic signature to it and place it in the relevant computer system.

According to the new regulations, in the event of termination of the employment relationship, the employer is obliged to issue to the employee not only a certificate of employment, but also information about the period of storage of his/her records and the possibility of collecting the records by the end of the calendar month following the expiration of the period of storage. Such information can be issued both in paper and electronic form