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Spring is officially here! Can you believe it?

Preparing for this fresh season reminds us to be proactive in our HR world, too. What better time to clean out our desks and de-clutter paperwork? (We have a lot lying around. We’re sure you can relate.)

That’s why we thought it would be the perfect time to host a seminar about turning paper piles into productivity.

The thing is, though, de-cluttering paperwork can be tricky. When it comes to record keeping, there are laws about what you can keep and for how long. We’ll discuss this more at our seminar, but today we want to address a topic we get asked about often.

Employers often ask: when it comes to record retention and destruction, what is the difference between paper and electronic records?

Answer: Besides their medium, there is no difference between paper and electronic records when it comes to retention periods.

Some people think that because e-files are a different medium, they have different record management requirements. However, this is false. No matter how records are created, stored, or used, they must still meet legal, fiscal, and administrative retention periods, and be destroyed in accordance.

As with paper files, electronic records should be:


It’s important to encrypt or password protect e-files. Also, make sure that you are acting lawfully when storing sensitive information such as social security numbers.


Not only will being organized help you find things easier, but it will ensure you are able to timely produce records if requested by law.

Lawfully Destroyed.

The retention time period and destruction deadline is the same for e-files as it is paper files. Destruction time varies by file type.

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.