It’s a conversation that no-one wanted to have, but as we reach the end of the first furlough scheme, and with no end in sight to the current pandemic, the prediction of mass redundancies is about to become very real. If you are a business owner or director that has had to make these very difficult decisions, you are probably quite rightly concerned with the health of your business and the wellbeing of your remaining staff.

However, when a person is made redundant, they may leave behind them a trail of confidential documents. Making sure you dispose of, or store, these properly is essential and one we wanted to take a closer look at.

How long should you keep HR Records?

HR records are required to be kept for two years. To minimise the chance of identity fraud, you could choose to archive these and store them with an external storage company such as ourselves. After two years, you will need to securely dispose of these records, so it is worth performing a yearly audit of people who have left the company (and when) and organising for these documents to be shredded and destroyed.

How long should you keep Financial Records?

Payroll information is required to be kept for three full tax years after the employee has left. As with HR Records, storing with an external facility can provide peace of mind, and keeping accurate records will help to flag when information should be destroyed.

However, perhaps your employee had a company credit card, was a bank signatory or you have a record of their signature and address for any other purposes. Check carefully as to whether you legally need to store these, and if not, arrange for them to be shredded. This will protect both your former employee and your business from any potential fraud.

What about GDPR?

Some have predicted that an increase in redundancies will lead to an increase in Special Access Requests, or SAR. This is when an employee, either current or former, will request details on all the personal data held by a company. SAR will need to be responded to within one calendar month, and any information sent needs to be personal data relating to that employee only.

In practice, that means that any information not relating to that employee needs to be redacted. For businesses that regularly review paperwork and records held, and confidentially destroy what is not needed, this will be a reasonably straightforward process. For businesses that have not been as disciplined, this could be a lengthy process that potentially causes delays.

For more information on our confidential document destruction or Scanning process please check out the information on our website, email us on or give us a call on 020 3234 0090.

Here are some other related posts you may be interested in reading:
Recycling: the Services we offer.
Why use Secure shredding.
Stop sending items to landfill!