Poland: Digitalisation of personal files and new shorter deadlines for storage and destruction of personal files
As of January 2019, Polish labor law allows for keeping personal files in electronic form. The new regulations also shorten the mandatory period for storing personal files of employees from the previous 50 years to 10 years, counted as of the end of the year in which the employment relationship ceased, while the new deadlines apply without limitations to new employees, i.e. those employed after 01.01.2019. In the case of employment relationships terminated before the entry into force of the amendment or commencing before its entry into force and after 31.12.1998, the old rules apply (with some exceptions).
The possibility of digitizing personal files does not mean that it is possible to destroy existing employee files after the payroll department is transitioned into an electronic system of management of employee records and personal files, or after the expiry of their storage periods. In such a case, the employer is obliged to inform employees about their rights, and in particular about the possibility of collecting one’s paper files, and only if the employee fails to do so in time may the documentation be destroyed.
Keeping files in electronic form does not mean a simple scanning of documents. In such a case, personal files and other employee documentation must bear a qualified electronic signature and comply with new requirements contained in an executive regulation of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy.
At the same time, it seems reasonable to continue to keep employee files in the traditional paper form, as labour courts will continue to require delivery of these files in paper form.
Source: Act of 10 January 2018 on amendment of certain acts in connection with the reduction of storage periods of personal files and their digitalisation (J.L. 2018, item 357) and Regulation of 10 December 2018 of the Ministry for Family, Labor and Social Policy regarding personal files (J.L. 2018, item 2369)