All employers need to keep records of their employees’ employment details (such as job title and salary) and certain personal details (such as date of birth and home address). This information will be held either on a computer or on manual record cards and used for payroll and personnel management purposes.
The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates the processing of this information (how it is held, used and disclosed) through a set of eight data protection principles.
The Data Protection Act relates to both manual and computer records. It is safer and certainly best practice to assume that the Data Protection Act applies to all employee records.
Employers without appropriate computer systems for keeping employment records should see below for a set of basic employment record cards which should be completed and kept updated for every employee:
This provides an “at a glance” history of remuneration. The cost to the employer of any benefits which are provided to the employee is included in this record for tax purposes (P11 D).
All absences should be recorded. Using one form only for recording all types of absence enables an overview of an employee’s attendance record to be obtained quickly. Due to the detail involved and, in particular, the information as to whether the absences are to be paid or not, it is likely that the person responsible for personnel records or salary administration will be in the best position to complete this form. To ensure that the correct payments are made, it is important that this person is notified promptly when employees are absent or return from absence. Establish a procedure for line managers to inform personnel or salary administration of absences on a weekly basis.
Keep details of the illness separate from the record of the dates of absence. Access to sickness and accident records should be limited to those managers who require the information to carry out their management role.
By maintaining accurate records, if a problem arises, you will be able to identify patterns in absence and build up evidence to present to the individual to support any action which may be necessary. You will also be able to determine when SSP and/or company sick pay have been exhausted, so that the correct adjustment to salary can be made.
In addition to recording training courses attended, this form can also be used for recording training needs and the provision of training other than training courses, such as on the job training.
A disciplinary warnings record provides a useful way of monitoring an employee’s disciplinary history and the development of any patterns of undesirable behaviour.
Employers should introduce appropriate personnel systems to ensure compliance with the eight data protection principles and the Data Protection Codes: