How Long Should You Keep Employee Records?

employee records

Anyone who works in HR knows: employee records add up. Between your records for past employees, current employees, and possible hires, it’s almost impossible to keep track of all the paperwork you have to deal with.

Is there a way to cut down on all of this?

You can keep your paperwork collection from getting too large by getting rid of old files. But there’s a certain amount of time you need to keep them before throwing them away.

Here’s how long to keep employee records.

How Long to Keep These Records

Figuring out how long you need to keep your employee records is not an exact science. But here are some good rules of thumb to get you started:

  • Hiring records: 1 year
  • Drug test records: 1 year (5 for transportation jobs)
  • Payroll: 3 years (5 years after termination)
  • Form I-9: 3 years after hire, 1 after termination
  • Benefits Information: 6 years
  • FMLA records: 3 years
  • Employment records: 3 years after termination

These rules are not flawless, but you should be keeping these files at least for this long.

Why are we being so cautious? Well, that’s because how the laws work depend on where you live …

A Word of Warning

Sometimes, state laws and federal laws differ. For example, here in Indiana, Payroll records need to be kept for 10 years, not 3. This is just one example of how things can be different.

When you notice any of these discrepancies, you should follow the longer rule. In our example, that means that you should be following the state law. But the state law is not absolute. If the federal law is longer, then you should follow that one instead.

It can be difficult to figure out when and how to keep employee records. And if you’re already running a business, or doing a thousand other HR jobs, how are you supposed to keep up on when these records are too old?

If you’re taking care of records on your own, it’s easy to let them pile up as you focus on other things.

What if there was an easier way?

Want to keep employee records safe?

What you need is records management. Professional records management will store all of your records for you, keep them organized and, most importantly, destroy them when the time comes. This keeps them out of your way when you don’t need them, and clean and organized when you do.

But, you may be thinking, this comes with its own set of problems.

What happens if you need the files? A lot of the time, you might be worried about getting them on time. When you need a file, you need it right then, not hours from when you ask for it. That’s why we provide our Fort Wayne clients with delivery within minutes, not hours or days.

If you’re looking for a records management service that is willing to work with you no matter what the time of day, then we’re your people. Get in touch to see how we can help you today!

What Is Records Management? Everything You Need to Know

what is records management

It’s a great feeling when your business is going well and growing. It’s every entrepreneur’s dream. With your growing success, how well are you keeping up the pace?

More business means more hands to do the job. It also means paperwork. More paperwork means you need a better system to stay organized. But, you already knew that. The trouble is, when you search the internet for details on how to manage your records, you’ll hit some confusion along the way. Like document management and record management. What is records management?

This guide gives you a quick rundown of everything you need to know about records management and why you need it ASAP.

What is Records Management?

First, let’s take a closer look at what records management means. Records management is the practice of archiving or keeping documents that are of an important nature.

These documents are made up of:

  • Paper
  • Electronic forms
  • Files
  • Emails
  • Faxes
  • Contracts
  • Leases
  • Vendor communications
  • Etc.

Records management also establishes policies and procedures for maintaining these records.

Why Do We Need Records Management?

The idea behind why we need records management is simple. We use records management is to:

  • Control our records
  • Simplify the way records are stored
  • Ensure the security of our records
  • Easily locate the records when they’re needed
  • Determine how long records need to be retained
  • Cut the amount of data that is no longer needed or obsolete

The next question you’ll need to ask yourself is: Do you want your records management done on-site or off-site?

Records Management Company in Fort Wayne

As you can see, it’s vital to have a proper record management system for your business. You need to keep your documents secure and easily retrievable to keep your business running smoothly.

If you’re looking for off-site records management, look no further! Let Federal Records Management and Shredding in Fort Wayne be your document keepers!

We are a locally owned, operated, and AAA-certified document management company in the greater Fort Wayne area.  In fact, we’re the only locally-owned and operated document management company in Fort Wayne!

If you need proper disposal of your documents and records, we offer those services, too. We offer on-site and off-site secure document shredding and computer hard drive destruction.

We have a team of experienced professionals who will work with you. They will help develop a plan to efficiently manage your records and information.

So contact us and let us help you manage your important records today!

5 Reasons Your Information Management System Needs a Shredding Service

Do you need a shredding service? Ask yourself these questions: Is time on a budget at work? Do you find that your information management system is being overlooked?

It might be easy to push information management to the back of your mind but as soon as you encounter a confidentiality issue, you will wonder why you did not make it a priority sooner. Even minor details can be used to compromise your company’s security if they end up in the wrong hands. To ensure that your company’s confidentiality is maintained with integrity, you should handle information with care.

Storage and disposal of confidential records and documents should be a priority and ensuring that information is managed properly can save you headaches and anxiety. Taking the time to make sure that your information management system is streamlined to effectively guard confidential information is crucial.

A shredding service can serve as an invaluable resource to maintaining your company’s confidentiality and staying ahead of the curve.

Here are 5 reasons that you will want to use a shredding service:

Why Your Information Management System Needs a Shredding Service:

1. A shredding service guards against theft of confidential information.

There are reportedly 9 million victims of identity theft each year.

If these victims had invested in a shredding service, they would have likely been able to prevent becoming a part of this unfortunate statistic.

Shredding documents that can be used to steal identifying information is an effective way to guard against theft.

Professional thieves can use your information or your company’s information in catastrophic ways, wreaking irreparable damage.

The best way to guard against these invasive criminals is to proactively dispose of any documentation that can be used against you.

2. A shredding service can effectively dispose of large amounts of information.

When you are involved with the ins and outs of running a business, you might not realize just how much information that passes through your company, or how this information could be used against you.

A shredding service can accommodate the large amounts of documentation that companies often encounter.

When left to your own devices, you may not be as responsible in disposing of confidential documents.

3. A shredding service saves you time.

When you are crunched for time, disposing of your private information and protecting your company can be shuffled to the bottom of the barrel.

A shredding service takes care of the work, so you can take care of the things that you need to.

4. A shredding service is an efficient way to create space solutions.

Without a shredding service, many documents and papers will linger around the office far longer than necessary.

You might be surprised how distracting and space-consuming paperwork in the office can be: mail, files, paperwork, documentation…

Shredding can free up large areas of space and eliminate confusion and lack of organization in the office.

You waste time and energy sorting through papers, and revisiting piles of documents and mail that need tossing.

When you employ a shredding service, you are much more inclined to toss those unwanted and unneeded papers immediately, which clears space for the things that really need your attention.

5. Shredding helps to develop a system for documents that you need to keep and documents that should be thrown out.

When you have a shredding service you are more likely to differentiate between those papers that you should keep and those that you should not.

Shredding is one way to stay more organized.

When you rely on a shredding service, then you are more inclined to stay on top of the piles of paper. You realize that this stack is disposable, so you categorize appropriately.

When you have a destination for things, you are more likely to incorporate a system for dealing with them.

Conclusion:

A shredding service can offer businesses a number of valuable benefits. They help you to stay organized, protect yourself, save time and conserve space. If you need help getting your system on-track, let us help!

Our New GPS Tracking Capability Takes Security to the Next Level

gps tracking records management

At Federal Records Management & Shredding we are constantly monitoring and adapting our services to give our customers the best and most convenient information management and document destruction services possible. We want our customers to be confident knowing their records and information have been kept secure the entire time they have been in our possession. This is why we have now equipped all of our trucks with the latest GPS tracking technology.

We have always used secure, dedicated trucks — driven by our certified employees — to both retrieve records for destruction at our facility and to deliver documents to our customers from our secure storage. The added GPS technology allows us to take this security to the next level. We can easily and reliably monitor the real-time location and route of our vehicles — and YOUR records — at all times. This also provides us with a historical record of the vehicles routes and stops. If needed, we can verify the route of specific document transmissions and confirm the exact timing of pickup and delivery.

GPS tracking also allows us to dispatch trucks more efficiently and monitor their progress without having to call the drivers for updates. And that means faster and more convenient service for our customers!

Federal Records Management & Shredding is the only records management and shredding company in Fort Wayne that has been AAA-certified by the National Association for Information Destruction. We offer secure on-site or off-site document shredding as well as document management and storage services. Contact us today at 260.267.9652 to talk with one of our specialists about our new GPS tracking feature and how our services can help your business easily meet all of its needs.

Information Management: The Key to an Efficient Staff and Effective Business

information management

Almost all businesses or organizations have records, documents, and other types of information that need to be retained. The right information, at the right time, is essential for staff, clients, and management. Managing information so that it is accessible, usable, accurate, and complete — all in a timely and cost-effective manner — is no small feat. However most businesses do not have an organization-wide system is in place and managing records and information becomes the responsibility of “everyone” … which — as anyone working in today’s hectic, multitasking workplace knows — likely means “no one”.

Why Your Business Needs Information Managment

All too often, the importance of records management becomes clear only AFTER one of the following problems has occurred:

  • managers are spending too much time waiting for records or crucial pieces of information
  • staff is spending too much time searching for information files or information needed by customers or clients
  • filing systems are strained and costly office space is being taken up to house no-longer-needed files
  • important, private, or confidential information is accessible to unscrupulous people and exposed to theft or fraudulent use
  • important records are improperly stored — exposing them to humidity, mold, dirt, rodents or insects — and permanently damaged
  • there is a crisis — either physical (e.g. broken water pipes, fire, smoke damage) or professional (e.g. an audit, a lawsuit) — ruining crucial records and exposing to the public the organization’s poor level of records management

Avoiding these problems just makes sense. It also makes sense to allow your staff and business to run as effectively, productively, and efficiently as possible. Leave the records management to the professionals! Federal Records Management & Shredding in Fort Wayne offers all the services, security, and cutting-edge technology to manage and protect your information for you — saving you time and money, and giving you peace of mind.

Shred Everything Policy

shred everything policy

You Can Never Be Too Careful: The Value of a “Shred Everything” Policy

Information coming in and out of your company is constantly at risk of being mishandled or stolen. Human error accounts for over 30% of the data breaches that occur in small business. Criminal “dumpster divers” are regularly hunting for personal or private information that can be found in commercial dumpsters or recycling bins. Considering the ever-increasing rates of identity-theft, as well as the increasing number of regulations to protect confidential information, it is far from prudent for any business to simply throw away documents into the trash or an open recycling bin.

There is always a chance that information can fall into the wrong hands — and that your business will be held liable.

It’s a time-consuming task to train employees which documents should be shredded. It also takes time from already busy schedules to force staff to walk to the office shredder and shred documents themselves.

Federal Records Management & Shredding suggests you simplify this task (and protect your business and save time and effort!). How? Direct everyone to assume that all paperwork is sensitive and should never go in the trash. Install our secure shredder containers and implement a “Shred Everything” policy.

Shred Everything policies are becoming the norm for businesses small and large. The benefits include:

  • document disposal is simplified
  • confidential information is protected
  • employees are easily trained
  • risk of information breaches is reduced
  • risk of regulatory non-compliance is reduced
  • paper is recycled (after shredding at the secure facility) instead of going into the waste stream or landfills

Tips for implementing a Shred Everything policy

  • make it simple
  • work with a licensed information destruction company such as Federal Records Management & Shredding to install appropriate bins and establish a destruction schedule
  • educate staff about the importance of the Shred Everything policy
  • allow an adjustment period then begin regular security assessments (i.e. checking copiers, faxes, and trash cans for stray documents)

Federal Records Management & Shredding in Fort Wayne is a NSAID AAA Certified document destruction facility. We protect all documents from the time they enter our secure shredding boxes, through being shredded at our secure facility, until they are received at the paper recycling company. We stay on top of compliance regulations to help you protect your business, your employees, and your clients. Call us today at (260) 267-9652 to learn how our easy-to-use — and economical! — procedures can keep you and your business safe from information breaches.

How Long Should You Keep Business Records?

how long to keep business records

Business Record Retention

Many business owners and office managers wonder how long records need to be kept — and which ones, specifically? The answer generally depends on the aspect of your business to which the record pertains; e.g. taxes? hiring? regulations? etc. There are a wide range of legal, accounting, and regulatory guidelines for records retention. The answer can also vary depending on your specifics business type or industry.

Keep in mind that electronic communications and documents also need to be included for preservation.

Here are some basic guidelines:

Business Income Tax Returns and Supporting Documentation

Income tax returns for your business and their supporting documents should be kept for 7 years (the period of limitation by which either you may seek to amend your tax return, or the time in which the IRS may audit your tax return).

Employment Tax Records

Employment tax records should be kept for 4 years (including information such as your employer identification number; amounts and dates of wages paid; annuity and pension payments; names, addresses, social security numbers, and dates of employment of employees)

Business Asset Records

Business asset records should be kept “until the period of limitations ends from the year you disposed of the property” according to the IRS (to help you calculate depreciation, amortization, and gains or losses on that property)

Business Ledgers and Other Key Documents

Business ledgers and other key documents including financial statements, annual reports, corporate by-laws and amendments, Board of Director information, and annual meeting minutes should be kept permanently.

Human Resources Files

Human resource files should be kept for 7 years after an employee has left or been terminated (for job applicants who were not hired = 3 years; for an employee who suffered an accident on the job = 7 years)

Other Business Records

  • Canceled Checks = 7 years
  • Bank Account and Credit Card Statements = 7 years
  • Ownership Records = permanently (including articles of incorporation, director and shareholder meeting minutes, stock ledgers, etc.)

(Note: These suggestions should not take the place of consulting with a professional to make sure you are in compliance with requirements specific to your industry and organization.)

Business Document Storage and Management in Fort Wayne

It’s understandable why business people everywhere feel confused by requirements and regulations AND swamped with paperwork. That’s how Federal Records Management & Shredding can help! Business records management is important that’s why our staff is always up-to-date on the latest requirements for records retention. We can train your staff to understand these requirements and regulations, too which can reduce your liability. And, we offer state-of-the-art records retention storage, databases, and one-day record retrieval services — all right here at our convenient to downtown Fort Wayne location.

To avoid identity theft and protect sensitive business information, be sure to properly destroy business records that you no longer need to retain— another important reason to use Federal Records Management & Shredding!

New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace

new years resolutions for the office
The New Year is a time to give some thought to more than just personal goals for the upcoming year. It’s also a great time to set goals for improvements in the office (where we spend so much of our time, after all).

Business articles this time of year are rife with suggestions for how to make the workplace better. The most popular suggestions?

  • take breaks — leave your desk for lunch; get up and walk around the office (or outside) a couple of time a day; or, at the very least, get up for a stretching and deep breathing break every hour
  • be more positive — look for the good in other people; appreciate the efforts of others; give compliments; don’t be so hard on yourself
  • declutter and get organized —  desks, filing systems, computer files; now is the time of year to set up systems that will be easy to stick to for the rest of the year such as a clean desk policy.

Our personal favorite? Strengthen your organization’s information security. Even if your business doesn’t require compliance with information security regulations, every business needs to be aware of the risks of identity theft or other types of information fraud. No one wants to be responsible for clients, employees, or your company’s intellectual property being put at risk by not properly securing information at your workplace. The professionals at Federal Records Management & Shredding are experts in helping you and your employees understand:

  • what information should be protected
  • how best to protect it
  • how to dispose of it in a secure manner

Put information security at the top of your resolutions for 2017! It’s the resolution that will protect you, your business, your customers, and your employees for years to come.

End of Year Document Purge

end of year file purge

Clean It Up, Clear It Out: Office Clean-Up Day!

At work, most of us don’t have the inclination or the time to devote to purging old documents and files. Work time is for work! However, dealing with files appropriately is an important task that helps a business run more smoothly AND reduces the chance of privacy or confidentiality breaches. It’s also a waste of space, time and energy to keep resources — information, supplies, equipment, etc. — around that don’t contribute to the company’s productivity or mission.

One way to make this important job more appealing is to designate an entire day for the entire staff to engage in an office-wide “purging”. Here’s a suggested Plan of Action to get started:

  • Assign one person or a small team to coordinate the day. Most businesses purge unwanted documents at the end of the year. It’s not only easy to remember but coincides with the fiscal year end.
  • This team should inventory the types of documents used by your business and
    determine rules for what can go in the trash or recycling, what needs to be
    shredded, and what should go to long-term storage.
  • Establish the day and give everyone notice well in advance (with frequent reminders as the day gets closer). Make it clear that everyone is expected to participate.
  • Create user-friendly instructions for document disposal or retention to hand out to all staff. Make especially sure that managers or supervisors understand the rules and can assist staff with questions.
  • Arrange for additional recycling and trash bins; arrange for an on-site shredding company or extra bins to transport files off-site for destruction.
  • And have some fun!
  • Make it a dress down day
  • Carry in breakfast and lunch
  • Have a contest like “guess how many pounds of paper were shredded”
  • Have someone take before and after pictures of the messiest spaces or file cabinets
  • Set up a “white elephant” room for unwanted items to be up for grabs, or donated to charity at the end of the day

The team at Federal Records Management and Shredding can provide advice and services to make sure your end of year document purge is handled appropriately. We know all the ins-and-outs of the privacy regulations that affect your business and offer paper shredding and secure hard-drive destruction, as well as secure on-site records retention (with an online inventory system that makes records retrieval easy and fast). Contact Federal Records Management and Shredding today to learn how our services can help make sure your businesses end of year document purge is handled safe and efficiently.

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

how to protect yourself from identity theft

Identity Theft: Beyond Shredding — What You Should Know to Protect Yourself

According to the Federal Trade Commission, 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year. Identity theft means that someone has illegally obtained personal information — such as Social Security Number, credit card data, etc. — and is using that information to commit fraud or other crimes. Restoring your credit and clearing your name after your identity has been stolen can be an arduous and time-consumer task.

Don’t put yourself (or your clients or employees) at risk. Follow these guidelines to help minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Guard online information

Nowadays, many of us do everything from shopping, banking, paying bills, watching TV, and listening to music online. Using the same username and password for each account makes it easy for someone to gain access to accounts and sensitive information.

  • use strong passwords and change them (and usernames, too) on a monthly basis
  • never send credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers, or other personal information via email
  • be alert to “phishing”: when emails or pop-ups appear to be legitimate banks or businesses asking for personal information; if you did not initiate the contact, do not provide any information electronically
  • keep anti-virus software up to date.
  • shop online only on secure websites — an image of a lock should appear at the bottom of your browser or look for “https” in the address bar
  • pay for online purchases with a credit card which has better protection guarantees than debit cards or online payment from checking accounts
  • limit who can access your social networking sites and never post your full name, address, or phone number

Monitor your financial statements and accounts

Checking your bank accounts  and credit card statements on a regular basis will let you know immediately if there is suspicious activity.

  • monitor bank and credit card statements and report anything suspicious to the bank or credit card company immediately
  • check your credit report — by law, you are entitled to a free report every year from each of the three companies (request your copy here)

Daily Life

  • keep your mail secure by emptying your mailbox quickly or putting a lock on it; mail bill payments from the post office or a secure mailbox
  • if you will be traveling, request a vacation hold on your mail from the USPS
  • limit what you carry with you: don’t carry your social security card, and take only those credit cards or debit card that you need for that trip
  • tear the labels off of prescription bottles before you dispose of them
  • be very wary of telephone scams: never give out personal information to telemarketers
  • keep your financial documents and records in a safe at your home; lock your purse or wallet up when at work
  • keep your laptop password protected
  • before you dispose of a computer or mobile device, remove the hard drive and have it destroyed.
  • report suspicions of identity theft to www.identitytheft.gov

Shred sensitive documents

Regularly shred bank statements, credit card statements and applications, bills, and anything containing your personal information instead of throwing it into the trash or recycling. Junk mail often includes some of your personal details.

For your personal or business needs, talk to the experts at Federal Records Management and Shredding about our completely secure storage and paper shredding services to protect you, your employees, and your clients or customers. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.