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Statutory retention periods

Updated: Feb 16

On 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force.

This may seem a long way off but it is important that employers recognise it as a call to action regarding their obligations under data protection law and look at the records that they are keeping on their employees.

In their role as data controllers, employers need to be aware of the statutory retention limits for employment records and the reason for that retention.

Statutory Retention Periods

We have summarised the information that employers need to know regarding retention periods – the record, how long it needs to be kept and the law that requires this. If there is any doubt as to the length of time a record should be kept, a rule of thumb is at least six years (five if the employer operates in Scotland). This will cover the time limit for bringing civil legal action.

There are other records not covered by legislation – the retention periods for these are, in many cases, up to the individual employer but we do advise that you seek legal guidance if you are in any doubt – it is better to err on the side of caution.

rradar offers a range of HR and Employment advice and support as well as innovative digital tools to help your business manage HR and Employment across your workforce.

To find out how we can help your business, please call 01482 296 800 or email

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