I hated this situation. I thought about burning everything and starting from scratch, but fortunately i found a solution that worked better: I went paperless! I started on this journey hoping to achieve some ideal paperless vision I had in my mind. Unlike many other things in my life, i actually achieved my goal! Besides a perfectly organized desk, heres what my vision of a paperless lifestyle can accomplish: 5 Benefits of going Paperless, reduces Clutter. No more creaky filing cabinets and random piles of paper laying around. Instead of trying to remember what file folder that important document is in, only to mess up the whole system in the process of looking, i can now pull up any document, at any time, from anywhere, in about 10 seconds.
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Before i realized my need for a paperless lifestyle, i had to reach an organizational breaking point. You know that point where everything feels like utter chaos and you dont know if youll ever be able to get it under control? Weve all been there! Shortly after getting married in 2006, Abby and I salaire moved multiple times. Along the way we collected quite a bit of paper, all supposedly important documents. I tried to take ownership of the filing duties, but i ended up failing miserably. When we moved to our current home in 2009, one of the upstairs bedrooms was designated as my office. I couldnt even stand the thought of going in the room. The far corner housed our two filing cabinets as well as stacks of paper all around. Im slightly obsessive about having everything in its place (ask Abby so this was more than I could take. If I needed a certain document, it would very easily take me 15 minutes or more to find.
If youre staring at your computer screen right now thinking, paperless? When Donnie told me he wanted to ditch our filing cabinet and process all of our bills, medical and insurance paperwork, bank statements, etc. Electronically, i really didnt have a clue what he was talking about. Boy am I glad I went along with his crazy scheme, though, because it has made a huge difference in the organization and declutter-ifying of our home. Just to warn you this post is waaaaaaayyyy longer than one of my normal posts here on the blog. We thought about breaking it up into a series but ultimately decided to leave it as one post because we thought it was important to have a one stop shop reference on going paperless. Feel free to pin it for friendship later if you want to digest the information in smaller chunks, but if youre ready to get reading, grab your favorite beverage, sit back and relax, and get excited about all of the paperless possibilities!
That includes creating a secure and reliable electronic storage environment, including off-site backup, and complete and secure destruction protocols consistent with the retention policy for hard copies. If technology does not self-audit or contain compliance monitoring, consider a quality assurance program that includes regular evaluations and checks of the electronic record-keeping system. Retain paper copies of any records that cannot be clearly, accurately, or completely transferred to an electronic record-keeping system (. E., performance documents which include notations in pencil or light ink). Adapted from going Paperless? Legal guidelines for Electronic Retention of Documents evidentiary considerations, co-presented by tiffani. McDonough and Michael Fagan for the liberty bell Chapter of arma international (April 2014) and Archive systems (may 2014). Since the technology and systems for going paperless are always changing, i have donnie take over the blog one resume time each year to write a post about the system he uses to keep all of our records and files completely digitally. We dont have any big filing cabinets stuffed with paperwork, no cluttered mess of folders to organize, and we never have to search through stacks of paper to find the documents we need we have everything we need available to us on both our computers.
Adequate records management practices are established and implemented (. E., providing a secure storage environment; creating back-up electronic copies and selecting an off-site storage location; observing a quality assurance program evidenced by regular evaluations of the electronic recordkeeping system including periodic checks of electronically maintained or retained records; and retaining paper copies of records. Helpful Tips for Electronic Storage, if a lawsuit is filed against your company, you will have a legal duty to maintain relevant documents in their original form and suspend their destruction or alteration as soon as you learn that litigation is imminent and until the. Although documents may be scanned into electronic form at this time, paper copies should not be destroyed during the pendency of the lawsuit. Account for ease of retrieval and searches when designing and implementing electronic document creation and storage protocols. Put time and effort in up front to design detailed metadata to improve search ability. Establish security protocols so that only authorized individuals can access each electronically maintained file.
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If you are an agricultural association, agricultural employer, or farm labor contractor, you must retain the i-9 Form for three years after the date employment begins for persons you recruit or refer for a thesis fee. Beware : Copies of I-9 Forms must be available on three days notice of inspection. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Employee retirement Income security Act (erisa) has two record retention provisions, which apply to doing all erisa employee benefit plans (retirement, health and welfare plans erisa 107: requires anyone who files or certifies certain information (such as a form 5500) to maintain sufficient records (. E., spreadsheets, email correspondence, plan documents, amendments, work records) to explain, corroborate, substantiate, and clarify what is in the filing or certification. Under erisa 107, an employer must maintain these records for six years after the filing date (or from the date of any extended date for filing). Erisa 209: requires an employer to maintain all such information for as long as a possibility exists that they the records might be relevant to a determination of the benefit entitlements of a participant or beneficiary.
This is essentially an indefinite duration. Erisa 209 applies to documents such as plan notices and service records used to determine eligibility. General Requirements for Electronic Storage systems. The record maintenance requirements of federal employment laws are generally satisfied when using electronic media if: There are reasonable controls to ensure the integrity, accuracy, authenticity and reliability of the records kept in electronic form. The electronic records are maintained in reasonable order, in a safe and accessible place, and in a manner that they may be readily inspected or examined. The electronic records are readily convertible into legible and readable paper copies as may be needed to satisfy reporting and disclosure requirements. The electronic recordkeeping system is not subject, in whole or in part, to any agreement or restriction that would directly or indirectly compromise or limit a persons ability to comply with any reporting and disclosure requirement.
Further, employers must keep all records (including wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements) that explain the basis for paying different wages to employees of opposite sexes in the same establishment for at least two years. Please note that state wage laws (. E., arizona) may require longer retention periods. Osha records, records required by the Occupational Safety and health Administration (osha) may be kept electronically provided the computer they are stored on can produce forms equivalent to oshas forms when they are needed and the system meets specific regulatory requirements. Access to injury and illness records must be limited.
When an authorized government representative asks for certain records (. E., an osha 300 Log which lists all injuries and illnesses at worksites) copies of the records must be provided within four (4) business hours. Finally, x-rays must be preserved in their original state (. E., if X-rays were received as hard copies, than they must be retained in hard copy form). I-9 Forms, the. Citizenship and Immigration Services (uscis) requires that electronic systems used for storing I-9 documentation have: reasonable controls to ensure the integrity, accuracy, and reliability of the electronic storage system; reasonable controls designed to prevent and detect the unauthorized or accidental creation of, addition to, alteration. Paper copies of I-9 Forms do not have to be retained if stored electronically, provided the storage system complies with the latter standards. Employers must retain I-9 Forms for three years after the date employment begins or one year after the date the persons employment is terminated, whichever is later.
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As a best practice, medical records of terminated employees should be retained for at least four years from the date of termination. Please note that medical records related to workers compensation claims have a different retention period. The eeoc recommends that race and ethnicity identification forms be kept separate from an employees basic personnel file. Again, it may be prudent to house electronic race/ethnicity data in its own essay separate database with its own separate access protocol. Payroll Documentation, because the fair Labor Standards Act (flsa) does not require a particular order or form of records, wage records may be maintained electronically. If records are stored electronically, records must be available for copying and transcription upon request by representatives of the department of Labor (dol and reproductions must be clear and identifiable. The flsa requires employers to keep payroll records for at least three years.
Educational Institutions and State and Local governments must retain such records for two years from the date of the making of the record or the personnel action involved, whichever occurs later, but in the case of involuntary termination of an employee, they must retain the. Please note that some states have laws which govern retention periods for personnel files which differ from the eeoc regulations. Further, record retention periods may be longer if day the employer has affirmative action obligations or is required by regulatory agencies to maintain records for a longer period of time. Medical Records, medical information (including documents related to a disability accommodation request or Family medical leave act (fmla) request) must be kept confidential and separate from an employees basic personnel file. One way to address this concern is to house electronic medical data in its own separate database with its own separate access protocol. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that covered employers keep all ada-related files for at least one year from the date the file was created. The fmla requires covered employers to keep fmla-related files for at least three years.
Also, because the new Digital Tiger is powered by google docs, you will be able to access your information on a host of mobile devices including the Apple ipad, Apple ipod touch, Apple iphone, android phones, Android Tablets and most other web-enabled devices. The software works with almost any Internet browser (Internet Explorer, firefox, safari, chrome, etc.). Sign up for our email newsletter! In todays high-tech business environment, it is commonplace for employers to digitize personnel documents. Maintaining these documents in electronic form has obvious benefits, including ease of accessibility and storage efficiency. Although electronic storage of personnel records is permissible under federal employment laws, employers must be mindful of the statutory rules relating to document retention periods and electronic storage systems to avoid legal pitfalls. If your company is considering implementing a paperless human resources department, read on for legal guidelines and tips to ensure a smooth transition. Personnel Records and Application Materials, the Equal Employment Opportunity commission (eeoc) requires that personnel and employment records be preserved for the following periods: Private employers must retain records for one year from the date of making the record or the personnel action involved, whichever occurs. Examples of documents include: performance evaluations; attendance records; disciplinary records; handbook receipts; requests for employment verification; education certifications; applications; and resumes.
All the while, you can rest assured knowing that your files are report protected and safely stored with google docs. There Are Only 5 Options with Paper. Many people would just like the paper in their life to go away but somehow it seems to keep coming. This is especially true in business. There are only 5 options when you are considering how to handle the paper in your world. You can toss it, stack it, alphabetize it, scan it or index. Each of these methods has its advantages, but in today's computerized world, if you have any volume of paper whatsoever, you will save a great deal of time using a computer to either scan or index your information using a system like paper Tiger/Digital Tiger. See your 5 Options with Paper. Access your Information From Anywhere, using the paper Tiger and the new digital Tiger, you or your team will be able to access your information from anywhere with an Internet connection.
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Get Control and Clear your Desk! Paper Tiger helps companies, non-profits, government agencies, professionals and individuals get control of something they ling the paper on their desk in their office. Now anyone can start solving their problems with paper in less than 60 seconds with our free forever account. If a messy desk is your problem, if your alphabetic filing system breaks down each time you have staff turnover, if members of your team want to be able to quickly and easily share information in the office or if you are wasting too much. The product is designed for anyone who desk wants to get a better handle on the paper-based information in the office. Now, with the addition of the new and free digital Tiger (included with a paid Basic or Pro plan Paper Tiger Online account you can also start moving to a more paperless business environment using the amazingly powerful, yet quite inexpensive google docs. Digital Tiger, which is powered by google docs, will allow you and your business associates to have incredible tools to convert, manage, manipulate and store your scanned pdf files and virtually any other document format to the cloud.