Recently, a client asked us if HR documentation can be scanned and originals shredded. Since we at Time 4 Payroll like to do our part by being as paperless as possible, we thought this was a great question.
Not finding any rules on the IRS, OR BOLI and WA L&I websites, we called BOLI and L&I and were told that the law is “silent” on this issue. The law requires that employers keep records, but does not specify how those records are to be kept. Our contact at OR BOLI told us that keeping digital-only files would not likely cause a compliance issue, but may be problematic if there was ever some litigation. In that situation, you may have to explain why you destroyed original documentation.
That leaves employers to decide what level of risk they are willing to take. At Time 4 Payroll, security of data is crucial, so we will continue our practice of keeping most data in a secure, digital format. Nevertheless, keeping a hard copy of certain employee records in a locked filing cabinet might not be a bad idea.