What Should Be Included In An Employee File? [Free Employee Documents Checklist]

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In any business, meticulous record-keeping is not just a best practice—it's a legal necessity. From the initial stages of recruitment to the final steps of termination, maintaining comprehensive employee documentation is crucial for both legal compliance and organisational efficiency. Learn more about Employee Documents Checklist here. 

What is an Employee Documents Checklist?

An Employee Documents Checklist serves as a roadmap for HR professionals and employers, outlining the necessary paperwork and records throughout an employee's life cycle within an organisation. From recruitment to termination, this checklist ensures that all essential documents are collected, maintained, and accessible as needed.


Employee Documents Checklist - Why Is It Necessary?

The average employee tenure usually depends on the types of employees you have and the industry your business is in. While some employees only stay for an average of 2-4 years, others become integral pillars of the organisation and serve for more than a decade. Throughout the employee’s lifecycle, it’s crucial for companies to keep the necessary records organised and updated according to the law and policies. For this reason, employers and HR Professionals prepare an employee documents checklist. An employee file checklist template helps:

  • In legal compliance and protection - should there be concerns, the necessary files can be easily tracked and produced.
  • Simplify and streamline the process of collecting, organising, and managing employee documents. 
  • Make informed decisions on training and development, promotions, terminations, and other employment related matters.  
  • Make payroll processing, including salary, tax withholdings, deductions, and benefits enrollment, more convenient. 

Generally, a well-maintained Employee Documents Checklist provides a comprehensive record of all employee-related documentation, making it easier for employers to prepare for audits, inspections, or compliance reviews by regulatory agencies or internal and external auditors.

Employee Documents Checklist - From Recruitment to Termination

Here is an employee file checklist template for the documents you may need to collect, keep, and update during a specific period or throughout an employee’s tenure with your organisation. 

Recruitment and Hiring

  • Job Description: This document contains the detailed tasks and responsibilities of the employee and can be used as a basis for appraisals. 
  • Application, CV, and Cover Letter: Keeping this record allows employers to easily see the candidate’s credentials and track their progress once they are in your organisation. 
  • Background Check Results: Including the results of background checks serve as proof that you vetted the candidate thoroughly and performed your due diligence. You need to keep criminal records checks, as well as employment and education verifications. 
  • Offer: Employers keep it to easily go back to the terms and conditions of employment offered to a candidate. 

Throughout Employment

  • Emergency Contacts: It gives you access to vital contact details of individuals to be notified in case of emergencies, such as accidents or medical emergencies 
  • Signed Agreements: This include employment contracts, confidentiality agreements, non-compete agreements, and relocation agreements. Keeping them ensures clarity and accountability regarding the agreed-upon terms.  
  • Handbook: Including the handbook in the employee file checklist ensures that employees have access to essential information and guidelines relevant to their employment.
  • Probation Documents: Including probation documents in the employee file helps monitor performance, provide feedback, and make informed decisions regarding continued employment.
  • Tax Documents: Keeping tax documents in the employee file checklist ensures compliance with legal requirements and facilitates payroll processing and tax reporting.
  • Background Check Results: You may need to rescreen your employees every once in a while. Including the results in the employee file keeps your records up to date. 
  • Leave Records: Including leave records on file helps track attendance, monitor leave balances, ensure compliance with leave policies, and facilitate accurate payroll processing.


Developmental and Performance Documents

  • Training Documents and Certifications: Documenting training sessions attended and certifications obtained helps track the employee's skill development and ensures compliance with training requirements.
  • Performance Appraisals: Performance appraisals provide feedback on the employee's performance, set goals for improvement, and document achievements and areas for development.
  • Promotion Documents: Including promotion documents such as promotion letters and job change forms documents the employee's career advancement within the organisation and clarifies changes in roles and responsibilities.
  • Disciplinary Action: Documentation of disciplinary actions taken, including warnings, reprimands, or suspension notices, provides a record of performance issues and corrective actions taken to address them.
  • Employee Expenses: Recording employee expenses, such as business-related travel or purchases, helps track reimbursable expenses and ensures accurate reimbursement to the employee.


  • Resignation Letter: The resignation letter provides formal notice of the employee's decision to leave the organisation and serves as documentation of the employee's departure date and intentions.
  • Exit Interview: Conducting an exit interview gathers feedback from departing employees regarding their experiences, reasons for leaving, and suggestions for improvement, which can inform organisational decisions and improve retention strategies.
  • End of Employment Checklist: The end of employment checklist ensures that all necessary steps are taken upon an employee's departure, such as returning company property, disabling access to systems, and conducting final payroll processing.
  • Pay Documents: Including final pay stubs, accrued vacation payouts, and other pay-related documents ensures transparency and accuracy in finalising the employee's compensation upon termination.

Reminder on Keeping Personnel File 

While the employee documents checklist above are usually kept on record throughout employment, remember that you may need to sort some of them in separate files or folders to keep things organised and comply with the law, particularly ones pertaining to confidentiality and privacy

How To Maintain Legal Compliance

Ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations is paramount for organisations. Here are some key considerations:

Collecting and Maintaining Documents

Employers must gather and retain all necessary employee documents as per legal requirements, ensuring accessibility while maintaining confidentiality.

Important things to discuss with your legal team include what files should not be kept, who can access the employee file, and when and how they should be discarded. As a general rule, all documents kept should be related to the person’s role and must not include opinions. Likewise, never assume that you can discard documents as soon as the employee leaves the organisation - some files should be kept for a period (ie. payroll) so you can produce it in cases of complaints or claims. 

Staying Updated

HR professionals must stay abreast of changes in employment laws and regulations, updating employee documents accordingly to reflect any legal changes.

For example, some roles require valid licences which should be renewed every couple of years. Likewise, you may need to rescreen your candidates periodically to verify initial screening, identify red flags, and keep records up to date. Here’s an Employer’s Guide to Employee Rescreening to learn more. 

Regular Reviews

Regular review and update of employee documents ensure ongoing compliance with evolving legal standards.


Tips On Organisational Needs and Efficiency

Efficiency and organisation go hand in hand in HR management. Here are some things to keep personnel files organised and efficient: 

  • Prepare standardised checklists: Creating standardised employee documents checklists ensures consistency in document collection and organisation, reducing errors and omissions.
  • Invest in an HR software: Utilising HR software or digital systems streamlines document management and access, improving efficiency and accessibility.
  • Separate files accordingly: To be more organised and efficient, consider setting up separate files and folders (tax documents, files on performance and development, etc)

Reminders On Employee Rights and Access

Transparency and respect for employee rights are crucial aspects of HR management. Remember that:

  • Employees have the right to access their own personnel files, promoting transparency and accountability. They also have the right to ask you to update or correct records should there be errors, particularly for their background check results
  • Employers must uphold employee privacy and confidentiality, safeguarding sensitive information contained in personnel files. Failure to do so may result in legal action. 
  • Establishing protocols for granting access to employee documents to authorised personnel ensures data security and compliance with privacy laws.

An Employee Documents Checklist is not merely a bureaucratic exercise but a foundational aspect of effective HR management. By prioritising legal compliance, organisational efficiency, and respect for employee rights, companies can create a robust framework for managing employee documentation throughout the entire employment lifecycle.


Veremark Integrates Seamlessly Into Your Workflow

To keep things organised, trust Veremark for your background check needs. We can conduct background checks - from criminal history to reference checks - for your pre-employment and rescreening needs. Trusted by the world’s best workplaces, our checks are fully-compliant with the relevant laws. 

Veremarks’ fully automated system can also easily integrate into your existing workflow. This means necessary information can be combined for stronger hiring and employment decisions as well as organised record-keeping. 

With no lock-in and long-term contracts, you can simply choose the checks you need, customise your requirements, and receive the results in shareable format. Learn more about our background checks here

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What is an Employee Documents Checklist?

An Employee Documents Checklist is a list of all the necessary documents and forms required from an employee during their tenure with a company. To stay organised, employers typically keep documents in separate files or folders (ie. tax documents, reports on performance, etc.)

Why is an Employee Documents Checklist Necessary?

It's necessary to ensure that all required paperwork is properly collected, organised, and maintained, facilitating compliance with legal and organisational requirements, as well as streamlining HR processes.

What documents should be in the Employee File?

Documents typically found in an Employee File include CV and cover letter, employment contracts, tax forms , performance evaluations, training records, background check results and results of rescreening, and any disciplinary actions or commendations.


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

Periodic Rescreening of Existing Employees To Mitigate Business Risk

Conducting a pre-employment background screen and reference check helps to ensure the suitability of the candidate for the role by checking credentials and uncovering potential red flags.

But, the potential for an individual to introduce risk to the organisation doesn't end after they are on-boarded. An employee's actions outside of the workplace could become a liability for the employer.

Rescreening refers to post-hire checks conducted on existing staff members. Rescreening helps to ensure the quality of the workforce is maintained, protecting the organisation's reputation and limiting liability, whilst adhering to employment rules and regulations, and the wider culture and people strategy.

In this report, we discuss:

- Why Does a Healthy, Productive, and Motivated Workforce Matter?

- How Does a Healthy, Productive, and Motivated Workforce Deliver Exceptional Business Results?

- How Have Employees’ Nefarious and Damaging Activities Have Impacted Businesses Around the World?

- What Are the Emerging Employee Trends in Hybrid and Work-From-Home Environments?

- How Can Rescreening Existing Employees Lead to a Healthier and More Prosperous Business?

- What Are the Latest Employment Screening Timing and Recommended Phasing Techniques?

- How Veremark Can Help With Post-Hire Screening as a Key Partner to Advise, Plan and Deliver

- Veremark customer poll insights: The importance of periodically re-screening existing employees

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