HR Record Retention Requirements

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South Africa

Document

Retention Period

Beginning of Retention Period

Legal Reference

EMPLOYMENT RECORDS

Contracts (new hire agreements, severance, etc.)

Minimum 3 years (including mandatory "written particulars of employment" under BCEA)

From termination

No. 75 of 1997: Basic Conditions of Employment Act as amended by Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, No. 11 of 2002, Art. 29(4)

Time records (work hours, rest periods, vacation/sick/holiday, etc.)

Minimum 3 years

From date of last entry in record

No. 75 of 1997: Basic Conditions of Employment Act as amended by Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, No. 11 of 2002, Art. 31 (2)

Performance records (performance reviews, promotions/demotions, licenses/certifications, investigations, disciplinary actions, etc.)

No longer than necessary for purpose

From creation

Best practice based on Protection of Personal Information Act ("POPI"), Sec. 14(1)

Data and personnel files

Record of employee's name, occupation, time worked, remuneration paid, date of birth if under 18 years of age, etc.: Minimum 3 years

From date of last entry in record

No. 75 of 1997: Basic Conditions of Employment Act as amended by Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, No. 11 of 2002, Art. 31

Government verification records (work papers, immigration, eligibility to work, etc.)

Applicable only to foreign employees: 2 years

From end of foreign employment

Immigration Act, Sec. 38; Regulation 35 of GNR 413 in Government Gazette No. 37679, 22 May 2014

Collective bargaining/union

List of members and meeting minutes: 3 years; Collective agreement: 3 years

List of members and meeting minutes: From end of financial year to which records relate; Collective agreement: From date of event or end of period to which records relate

Labour Relations Act 1995, Sec. 99(a), 99(b) and 205(2)(a)

Background checks and drug tests

No longer than necessary for purpose

From creation

Best practice based on Protection of Personal Information Act ("POPI"), Sec. 14(1)

Acknowledgements, policy agreements and required notices

Not prescribed

N/A

N/A

Recruitment (interview notes, resumes/CVs, reference checks, etc.)

No longer than necessary for purpose

From creation

Best practice based on Protection of Personal Information Act ("POPI"), Sec. 14(1)

Tracking/recordings (biometric, geo-location, online tracking, camera recordings, etc.)

No longer than necessary for purpose

From creation

Best practice based on Protection of Personal Information Act ("POPI"), Sec. 14(1)

BENEFIT/PENSION/EQUITY RECORDS

Benefits (plan documents, enrollment records)

Not prescribed

N/A

N/A

Pension and retirement records

Remuneration records reflecting pension contributions and deductions (for income tax compliance): Minimum 5 years, No maximum; For basic conditions of employment compliance purposes: Minimum 3 years, no maximum period

Remuneration records: From date of submission of tax return or from end of tax period; For basic conditions of employment: From date of last entry in the record

Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011, Sec. 29(3)(a); BCEA, Sec. 31(1)(e)

Equity records

Copy of employment equity plan and copy of Sec. 21 of EEA Report: 5 Years

Employment equity plan: After plan expiration; Sec. 21 of EEA report: After report submitted to Director General

Employment Equity Act Regulations 2014, Regulation 9(3) and 10(9)

PAYROLL/WAGE/TAX RECORDS

Payroll and wage data (payslips, etc.)

Minimum 3 years; Register or Record of Earnings (including wages, hours worked, overtime, and accident book): Minimum 4 years, Recommended practice by Labour Department is 7 years

From date of last entry in record

No. 75 of 1997: Basic Conditions of Employment Act as amended by Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, No. 11 of 2002, Art. 31; No. 130 of 1993: Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act as amended by Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act, No. 61 of 1997, Art. 81

Tax records

Minimum 5 years

From date of filing and from end of tax period

The Income Tax Act of 1962, Fourth Schedule, Sec. 14(1); Tax Administration Act, No. 28 of 2011, Ch. 4, Returns and Records, Sec. 29 (3)

Miscellaneous 1

Income Differentials (under Employment Equity Act): 5 years

After submitted to Employment Conditions Commission

Employment Equity Act of 1998, Sec. 27; 2014 Regulations, Reg. 12(3)

MEDICAL/SAFETY/LEAVE RECORDS

Leave (family, medical, etc.)

No statutory retention period, best practice 3 years

From termination

Best practice

Injury and illness incident reports

Minimum 3 years

From date of record

General Administrative Regulations 2003, Reg. 929; Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No. 85 of 1993, Art. 9

Medical records

No statutory retention period, best practice 3 years

From termination

Best practice

Hazardous material and other exposure records

Hazardous biological agent risk assessments, medical surveillance and monitoring: Minimum 40 years; Hazardous chemical agent surveillance records: Minimum 30 years

From date of record

Regulation 1390: Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents, 2001, Art. 9; Regulations 1179: Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulations, 1995, Art. 9

Ultimate Software's HR Compliance Assist team relies on a network of internal and external compliance experts and lawyers to provide clients with best practices and recommendations on topics such as HR document retention, employee data privacy, and HR electronic records. HR Compliance Assist also provides local compliance monitoring and alert services in select countries where Ultimate Software's customers have employees. HR Compliance Assist is a service exclusively available to Ultimate Software customers.

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