As I started creating this church employee personnel file checklist, I was completely blown away by the level of complexity it requires. I thought this was going to be a easy one. Good thing I did the work for you!
I quickly ran into all kinds of rules, laws and other concerns about personnel files. For all of those reasons, you really have to do this well.
Keep 4 Different Files
Instead of one neat and easy church employee personnel file checklist, it turns out you need 3 different files for each employee and one common file with the Federal I9‘s for every employee. For real. Each employee should have their own employment file, confidential file, and compensation file.
You have to do this for a bunch of reasons:
- different levels of supervisors need access to different files
- if you keep confidential information (age, race, SSN, etc) with employment records, you could be subject to a discrimination lawsuit
- if the government shows up and asks to see your I9’s, you don’t want to show them all the employees’ records
My free church employee personnel file checklist has 3 pages – one checklist for each of the 3 individual file types. Read on!
Keep Track of Important Dates
You need to mark certain important dates for documents on the various checklists:
- Deadlines – the I9 must be completed within 3 days of employment!
- Renewals – some personnel records need to be updated, like background checks or employee handbook revisions
- Destruction – if there’s a disciplinary action you take and the employee sets everything straight, that record should be part of their file indefinitely. Also, you should keep every record for an employee for several years after they leave in case there’s any disputes that arise.
Keep Them Secure
The files themselves can be physical paper copies or electronic versions. If you go with paper, keep them in locked drawers, preferably fireproof. I say drawers (plural) because the employee’s supervisor shouldn’t have access to the confidential file, so it has to have a separate key.
Of course, in the typical church plant the lead planter is the supervisor and the Director of HR, so I guess you’ll have to decide if you will have just one locked drawer. But you have to lock the drawer so that no one else gets their hands on the files.
If your files are electronic, or you have electronic backup copies of your paper files, make sure they’re in restricted folders that only the right people get to.
If the files fall into the wrong hands, significant damage could be done to your employees and to your church.