What do you need in a personnel record?

Offer letter 

Once you have decided to appoint the successful candidate, a job offer should be made in writing using an offer letter.

The offer letter should cover all the basics such as work location, line manager details, salary, hours of work, holiday, and notice period. You can also refer to the probationary period which will enable you to assess the new employee’s performance.

Always ask the new employee to sign and return a copy of the letter before they start work to signify their acceptance of its terms.

Contract of employment 

A contract of employment is an agreement between an employer and employee and is the basis of the employment relationship. Most employment contracts do not need to be in writing to be legally valid, but it is better if they are. A contract 'starts' as soon as an offer of employment is accepted. Starting work proves that you accept the terms and conditions offered by the employer.

Most employees are legally entitled to a Written Statement of the main terms and conditions of employment within two calendar months of starting work. This should include details of things like pay, holidays and working hours.

Ensure you have contracts in place for all employees and that these are signed.

CV/Application form 

You should keep a copy of their CV or application form on file so you can justify your recruitment decision and show that a fair process has been followed.

Right to work evidence 

Ask all employees to bring in original documentation that proves they have the right to work in the UK ASAP.

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence for an employer to employ those who do not have permission to live or to work in the United Kingdom. The maximum penalty is currently £20,000 per illegal employee.

Where an employer is found to be knowingly and deliberately using illegal migrant workers, this is viewed as a criminal offence with the penalties being a maximum custodial sentence of two years and/or an unlimited fine.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to check that someone you intend to employ has permission to work in the UK. There are by law, two lists of documents acceptable as evidence of legal working status in the UK and you need to see the original documents and photocopy them to prove you have checked. You need to sign and date the photocopies and confirm that they are a true copy of the original.

Acceptable documents include: a UK or EU passport or a combination of a full birth certificate and proof of National Insurance number.

Documents that DO NOT prove eligibility: driving licence, bank card, payslips, divorce/Marriage certificates, short version of a birth certificate.

Two References

Usually at least one work-related reference will be required, unless this is the new employee’s first job, in which case you should ask for a reference from their school, college or university. 

Emergency contact details

You can insist that employees give you emergency contact details for emergency-recovery purposes in relation to accidents at work, contact during sick leave or holiday. You need to make sure that this information is kept up to date and stored securely. 

Changes to T’s & C’s

If you change the terms and conditions of the original employment agreement, you need to keep a record of these changes. This includes consultation discussions and letters confirming changes. 

Disciplinary / Grievance documentation

You need to keep a record of any grievance/disciplinary/capability issues on file, with the related investigations, letters, sanctions etc. When a sanction is considered ‘spent’ you should amend the sanction to reflect the position. However, the documentation should remain on file. 

Training records

You should keep all training records on file and note when an update course is needed. If you want to recover an amount paid for a training course you will need to have a training cost agreement in place and hold this on file.

Sickness / Return to work

Employees will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay if they are off work for four days or more in a row (including non-working days). Make sure all of your managers are aware of the law. You should always record the information an employee tells you during their return to work interview. The interview is a proven way to reduce sickness absence and will allow you to identify any underlying health concerns. It will also allow you to identify if there is anything the company can do to support the employee going forward. Recording absence details will allow you to ensure the correct payment is received and help you with any trigger points you have in terms of levels of absence. 

Bank details

It is important that you hold up to date bank details of each employee so payment can be made. 

Copy of driving licence

If driving is part of an employee’s role then you need to ensure that you have checked that they are legally able to drive. You should also ask for a check code from the employee which will allow you to check the licence information such as penalty points or disqualifications. You will need to get their express permission for a check code as it is a criminal offence to obtain the personal information without express permission.


If your ‘Personnel File Audit’ raises any questions feel free to contact one of our Consultants who will be happy to discuss any of your concerns.

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If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?

0333 222 0989

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