Records Retention

I. Policy Summary

General Policies:

Staff employee activities are documented by records kept by a Central Office (e.g. SHR or Payroll), depending on the contents of the record.

These files and documents pertain to an individual’s staff employment at the University and are maintained, accessed, copied, transferred, stored and/or destroyed in accordance with the SHR Procedures Manual and the UCSC Campus Retention Schedules maintained by the Campus Records and Information Management Director: [http://rim.ucsc.edu].

Documents are kept because they:

  • are necessary to accomplish the functions for which a unit or central office is primarily responsible
  • constitute items whose retention is mandated to fulfill regulatory requirements
  • are records of financial transactions, or because their retention is a generally- accepted “best” business practice

A record may consist of a single document (“record”) or a set of documents (“file of record”) in any medium (paper or electronic). A record (in most cases) need not be an original to be the “official” record; it need only to be an accurate representation of the information contained in the record.

Note: Record or file contents should not include items of “immediate value” only, such as routing slips, “sticky notes”, envelopes, worksheets, rough drafts, reminders and requests for printed materials.

Office of Record:

The office charged with maintaining the “official” record on behalf of the University. The Office of Record is not necessarily the office of origin. The Office of Record is the location to which requests for access will be directed.

The Office of Record has the responsibility for producing the record if needed for audit, public records requests, subpoenas or other obligations or business purposes. Additionally, the Office of Record must maintain records for the duration of the retention period of the record, and no longer.

The Office of Record also establishes a regular schedule for purging documents that have reached the end of their retention period as specified by the UCSC Campus Retention Schedules.

Decisions about how documents should be stored by the Office of Record should be based on an assessment of the need for accessibility, the length of retention and the physical qualities of the records (Records Management Program (RMP)-4-VI-A) and whether a document is a “vital record” (as defined by RMP-4). Responsible destruction of records that have expired should be accomplished through shredding by a bonded vendor. More information concerning these issues and their applicability to a particular unit’s situation can be requested from the Campus Records and Information Management Director.

Records Custodian:

A Records Custodian” oversees records maintenance in the central office (see RMP-1-V-C). Their duties include:

  • ensuring file maintenance in accordance with this procedure, bargaining agreements, UCOP policy, State and Federal laws and regulations.
  • providing access on request in accordance with this procedure, bargaining agreements, UCOP policy, State and Federal laws and regulations.
  • ensuring that records are purged and properly disposed of upon reaching the end of their retention period.
  • serving as the principal contact for the Campus Records and Information Management Director or other UCSC personnel pursuing information contained in the records of the unit.

An employee may review or obtain copies of their own personnel records. Given reasonable advanced notice, the request is subject to conditions set forth in the appropriate personnel program or bargaining unit agreement, legal privileges, and State or Federal laws.

University employees and agents shall have access to specific information in an individual’s personnel file that is necessary to the performance of their assigned University duties, provided such access is related to the purpose for which the information was acquired. The Records Custodian should review such requests for appropriateness.

Pursuant to the Personnel Policies for Staff Members 80 (PPSM), RMP sections 8 and 9, information that has been determined to be public information (including name, date of hire, current position title and salary, unit assignment, date of separation, office address, office telephone number, current job description, appointment type, full or part time status) should be released upon request.

Releasing information such as (but not limited to) the individual’s home phone number and address, spouse’s or relative’s names, birth date, social security number, citizenship status and tax information has been determined by PPSM 80 to be an invasion of privacy.

Note: Employee information may be subject to subpoena or other legal inquiries as well as requests for public information. General information concerning subpoenas can be found in RMP-10. The Campus Records and Information Management Director has developed a campus-wide procedure for receiving and responding to subpoenas and other releases of information to public authorities.

File Disposition upon Separation:

The employee’s personnel file must be retained for the period specified by the UCSC Campus Retention Schedule and no longer.

If the University rehires a separated employee during the retention period of their inactive personnel file, it shall be returned to active status.

Once the retention period for an employee’s file has expired, it should be destroyed in a responsible manner according to campus guidelines to be established by the Campus Records and Information Management Director.

Disaster recovery plans:

Disaster recovery plans are required for records identified as “vital” to University business, including personnel records, and provides guidelines for protecting them. The Campus Records and Information Management Director will provide assistance to an Office of Record in assessing the current file storage system and in creating a “disaster recovery” plan for a unit managing vital records. See definition for “vital” records in definition section below.

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II. Policy References


III. Authority

Campus Records and Information Management Director:

  • assigns an Office of Record and retention periods to new records
  • makes changes to existing Office of Record assignments or retention periods

Central Office Unit designee:

  • establishes regular purge schedule for the unit
  • assigns a Record Custodian for the unit
  • requests changes of retention period or Office of Record assignment from the Campus Records and Information Management Director


IV. Definitions

Personnel file:

The official record of job-related activities of a University employee. It is maintained by Staff Human Resources and contains records such as applications, performance evaluations, EARs and related documentation, layoff notices, etc…

University of California Observatories (UCO) is the office of record for UCO employees.

Supplemental Employee file:

These files contain information about employees maintained by their supervisor or a central office separately from the personnel file. They are maintained by the office or agent that created them and are not the official personnel file. They must not contain any “official” records and the contents are not intended for long-term retention; they may be retained as long as needed but no longer than the retention period of the official record associated with the employee, action or incident.

Retention period:

The timeframe stated on the UCSC Campus Retention Schedules that represents the amount of time that a document must be kept. The document should be purged at the end of that time according to the established purge schedule.

The University expects that records and duplicates will not be retained in excess of the longest period defined.

University employees, agents and others (access to records):

Personnel files are available to University employees, its agents and other governmental agencies when performing specific work in the course of their assigned duties. Examples of UCSC agents include attorneys and investigators working on behalf of the University.

Access should also be extended to representatives of governmental agencies in the performance of their statutory duties, such as the United States Department of Labor or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

For more information about providing access to information, please refer to:

RMP-8: Legal Requirements on Privacy of and Access to Information
[http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/rmp8.html#VIIG]

RMP-9: Guidelines for Access to University Personnel Records by Governmental Agencies
[http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/rmp9b.html]

For advice on handling specific requests, please contact the Campus Records and Information Management Director.

Date of Last Transaction:

The retention period for many documents is based on the date of the last transaction recorded on the document. This may be the signature date, the date of Online Entry Update (OEU), the date that a report was generated, or a contract expiration date as applicable. For guidance in determining this date for a particular document, please contact the Campus Records and Information Management Director.

Vital Record [RMP-4 and -7]:

Records are designated as vital “ when the re-establishment of an authentic replacement of a lost or unavailable record would be impossible or prohibitively difficult and, thus, abridge, jeopardize, or otherwise affect a significant right of an individual, a significant right or asset of the University, or the performance of an essential function of the University so adversely that extraordinary precautions are required to preserve and protect effectively that record from both normal and unusual hazards, present and potential.” [http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/7020458/BFB-RMP-4]

For more information about protection for these records, please contact the Campus Records and Information Management Director.

Confidential Information:

Any information which meets any of the following criteria:

  • compiled for the purpose of investigation of suspected criminal activities or identification of individual criminal offenders or alleged offenders.
  • maintained for the purpose of an investigation of an individual's fitness for University employment, or of a grievance or complaint, or a suspected civil offense, so long as the information is withheld only so as not to compromise the investigation or a related investigation. The identities of individuals who provided information for the investigation may be withheld pursuant to Section 1798.38 of the California Information Practices Act.
  • would compromise the objectivity or fairness of a competitive examination or appointment or promotion in University service, or is used to determine scholastic aptitude.
  • pertains to the physical or psychological condition of the individual. The information shall be disclosed upon the individual's written authorization to a licensed medical practitioner or psychologist designated by the individual.

For more information, see RMP-8: [http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/rmp8toc.html]

Personal Information:

Identifies or describes an individual. Its disclosure constitutes an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Examples include:

  • Birthdate
  • Citizenship status
  • Social Security Number
  • Home address and home telephone number
  • Income tax withholding
  • Staff performance evaluations or letters of corrective actions
  • Spouse’s or other relatives’ names

Generally, both personal and confidential information should be kept in locking cabinets in areas not subject to regular public access. Some confidential information (e.g. medical records, background checks) must be kept separately from the official personnel files, under more restrictive access rules.

For information about the specific security levels required for each file type, refer to the UCSC Campus Retention Schedules.

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V. Processes

Responsibility

Action

Requests for Access to Information in Personnel Files:

By Subject of Information:

Employee

Requests review or copy of their file in writing. The first copy should be made available without cost to the employee; subsequent or additional copies may be subject to a fee to cover the costs of copying, as specified by bargaining agreement or personnel program.

Records Custodian

Reviews and processes the request within thirty (30) if records are on-site and sixty (60) days if records are in storage.

By University Employees, Agents, Hearing Officers, and Hearing Committees:

Record Custodian

Reviews request [within thirty (30) days if records are on-site and sixty (60) days if records are in storage] from University employees and agents for specific information in an individual’s personnel file for appropriateness to specified use of information.

By Public or by Subpoena or Other Legal Action:

Record Custodian

The Campus Information Practices Coordinator in the Office of Campus Counsel should be the initial contact for third-party subpoenas, information and records requests outside of normal business operations. If help is needed to determine whether a request for information should be honored, please contact the Information Practices Coordinator in the Office of Campus Counsel.

A campus-wide process for responding to subpoenas has been developed by the Campus Information Practices Coordinator and is available online: http://infopractices.ucsc.edu/subpoena.html.

Contact the Campus Privacy and Information Practices Director for more information.

Requests for Correction or Deletion of documents from the Personnel File:

Employee

Requests in writing to Staff Human Resources (SHR) Employee & Labor Relations (ELR) in accordance with the procedure outlined by the appropriate personnel program or bargaining unit agreement; requests will be reviewed by ELR to insure compliance.

SHR-ELR

Reviews and processes the request within thirty (30) days and either makes the correction or deletion as requested or forwards to the Information Practices Coordinator to inform the individual in writing of a refusal as well as the reason(s) for it; as well as informing the individual of the right to submit a statement into the file.

File Disposition upon rehire after separation:

SHR

If the University rehires a separated employee during the retention period of their inactive personnel file, it shall be returned to active status.

Separation:

Record Custodian

Determines the retention period for the separated employee’s file based on separation reason:

•  If separation is due to retirement, disability, or disciplinary discharge, then records are retained until the employee reaches age 70.

•  If separation is for any other reason, records are retained for 5 years after separation date.

•  If employee separates after age 65, then records must be kept for 5 years after separation date.

Records should be destroyed as soon after the expiry date as dictated by the established purge schedule.

Determining the Office of Record for New Documents:

Records Custodian Requests assignment of an Office of Record and retention period for new forms from the Campus Records and Information Management Director.
Campus Records and Information Management Director Reviews requests for additions and changes to the UCSC Campus Retention Schedules and communicates those changes to the campus.

VI. Retention Schedule Summary Matrix

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Revised March 2016