Employee records – what do they consist of and how do you keep them?

Keeping and maintaining employee records is a legal obligation for every employer. It is regulated by law and non-compliance is punishable by a fine of up to PLN 30,000. We encourage you to learn about the principles of proper maintenance and storage of employee records.

Employee records – what are they?

Employee records, are a collection of individual documents relating to each employee employed.

The maintenance of employee records is regulated by law and is the responsibility of any employer employing an employee under a contract of employment, appointment, appointment, election or cooperative employment contract.

An employer who fails to maintain or store employee records or leaves them in conditions that risk destroying or damaging the documents may be fined from PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000, at the request of the labour inspector.

Need information on how to properly maintain employee records in your company? Talk to an expert.

What is included in employee records?

Employee records include:

  • Employee personnel file, consisting of five parts
    :Polylang placeholder do not modify
  • Documentation in matters relating to the employment relationship.

Regulation on employee records


The provisions, concerning the obligation to keep and maintain employee records, are regulated in:

  • Ordinance of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 10 December 2018 on employee documentation (Journal of Laws 2018, item 2369).
  • Act of 26 June 1974 of the Labour Code (Journal of Laws 2023, item 1465).

How to keep employee records properly?

Employee records must be stored in a manner that guarantees confidentiality as well as integrity and completeness and protects them from loss of availability under conditions that do not endanger the documents by causing damage or destruction.

Employee records, in paper form, should be kept in a room that is not accessible to unauthorised persons and has appropriate conditions, including humidity and temperature.

It is also permissible to keep and maintain employee records in electronic form.

Electronic storage of employee records

This is possible, subject to certain conditions:

  • Digital representations of the documents should be made, creating e.g.: scans. This process can be carried out for former and current employees, regardless of how long they have been in service and how long they have kept their records.
  • The scanned documents must be signed with a qualified signature by an authorised person, confirming that the digital reproduction matches the paper document.

The keeping of employee records, in electronic form, is also regulated by the provisions from the Ordinance of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 10 December 2018 on employee records, in §9 and §10.

Employee records in electronic form must be kept and stored in an ICT system that provides them:

protection against damage, loss and unauthorised access

permanent access for authorised persons

efficient retrieval of documentation, based on metadata

issuing part or all of the documentation in accordance with the regulations

integrity of content and metadata to prevent alterations

identification of persons with access to records and recording of changes made by them

Securing employee records in electronic form

Electronic employee records are considered to be properly secured when only authorised persons have access to them, they are protected against accidental or unauthorised destruction, and they are stored and maintained using appropriate methods and measures for the protection of the records, the effectiveness of which is widely recognised, at the time of their use.

In order to accurately secure the documentation, it is necessary to:

  • Systematically analyse risks.
  • Develop and apply procedures to secure records and processing systems, including access, backup and storage procedures.
  • Use safety measures that are appropriate to the risks involved.
  • Check the operation of all security measures on an ongoing basis, at organisational and technical/IT level, and periodically evaluate the effectiveness of these measures.
  • Prepare and implement plans for the long-term retention of records, taking into account their transfer to new IT storage media and new data formats, if required to ensure continuity of access to employee records.

Retention of employee records – for how long?

The obligation to keep employee records of former employees whose employment relationship has been terminated continues:

  • 10 years – if the employee was hired on and after 1 January 2019.
  • 10 years – if the employee was employed between 1999 and 2018, but on the condition that the employer submits the ZUS OSW statement and the ZUS RIA information report to ZUS, for all persons employed during this period. Important – the 10-year period will start from the last day in the year in which the information report is submitted.
  • 50 years – if the employee was hired before 1 January 1999, it is irrelevant whether the person is still employed or whether their employment relationship has been terminated.

For records that are subject to a 10-year retention obligation, this period is calculated from the end of the calendar year in which the employment relationship with the selected employee was terminated or expired.

For records that are subject to a 50-year retention obligation, the period counts from the date of termination of the employment relationship.

When can employee records be destroyed?

Employee records may be destroyed, in such a way that their contents cannot be reconstructed, up to 12 months after the expiry of the period allowed for the employee to receive the records.

The employee has the right to collect his/her employee records by the end of the calendar month following the expiry of the retention period of the employee records.

Importantly, in terms of the 50-year obligation to keep and retain employee records, the regulations do not in any way regulate the receipt of records by the former employee!

Employee records in the V-Desk system

A good way to properly maintain employee documentation is the e-file module in the V-Desk system. It is equipped with all components of employee documentation and is compliant with the Regulation of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 10.12.2018.

Many of our customers indicate that storing HR documents digitally becomes easier and more efficient. This is because V-Desk allows the preparation of automatic alerts sent, for example, to an email inbox. These concern important dates for employee entitlements, such as the end of periodic examinations, the end of health and safety training, employment contracts, alerts concerning the end of maternity or parental leave. By the way, it is also worth taking the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the other modules of the V-Desk system, which improve the work of HR and HR departments. Find out more about: business trips and holidays.