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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

Keeping Payroll Records


Records - Records are official and trustworthy documents used for accountability and transparency. Requirements for retaining records are mandated by federal and state laws and regulations. Official payroll records consist of documents related to employee earnings, including employee hours.

Working Documents - Working documents are unofficial yet trustworthy documents used to support business activities. Examples include copies of official records retained for your convenience or preliminary planning documents.

Temporary Documents - Temporary documents are transitory and not records or working documents. Examples include drafts, reference materials, and routine correspondence.

OBFS Responsibilities

OBFS retains official payroll records for the current calendar year and 5 previous calendar years, including:
  • Pay period time records including leave balances and leaves of absences
  • Documentation substantiating and authorizing the issuance of payments to employees for wages earned including increase, reduction, and termination notices
  • Reports of payroll reconciliation and accounts charged
OBFS also retains all year-to-date summary reports of wages, which indicate total wages earned and benefits accrued or spent, for 55 years.

Unit Responsibilities

Your unit should retain working documents related to payroll for 3 years from last date of use for audit purposes. Temporary documents should be disposed of as soon as they are no longer needed.

For assistance, consult your unit Records Liaison or records contact, if you have one, or the Records and Information Management Services team.

Additional Resources

Records and Information Management Services
Urbana - University Archives
Chicago - University Archives
Springfield - Archives/Special Collections

Last Updated: April 11, 2016 | Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance | Effective: March 2010

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