Record retention for Payroll: What’s required under federal, state regs Company disposed of workers’ old timecards too quickly Recordkeeping guidelines are just as important to the Dept. of Labor (DOL) as other wage and hour rules, especially when looking at timecards and other payroll records. If employers don’t keep accurate records of hours worked for the full time specified by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they could be required to pay fines and penalties. West Point Fast Break Inc., a gas station in Mississippi, threw away workers’ timecards immediately after they were paid. Per the FLSA, these records should be kept for at least two years. Because of this and other FLSA violations, including failing to pay employees for all the hours they worked and not giving employees overtime pay as required, the company must now pay $29,726 in back wages to 15 employees. Timing requirements According to the DOL, any info that’s included when calculating workers’ wages should be stored for a minimum of two years. Besides timecards, this includes work/time schedules, pay rate tables and any records of wage additions/deductions. General payroll records should be kept for at least three years. State laws for record retention vary. While some have no rules on the books, others require to be saved up to eight years. The DOL and most states allow records to be stored electronically. It’s a good idea to dispose of unneeded records periodically (and securely). More info: