Q. How long do we need to keep personnel files? And can we keep them in offsite storage? — JMDG, New Jersey
A. The length of time to keep personnel records depends on the type of record. In general, employers keep copies of personnel records for the length of the employment plus a sufficient number of years following the end of employment, and can retrieve those records as may be needed.
records often need to be kept for as long as those records may be audited by a taxing entity. Many employers use seven years as a rule of thumb. Similarly, you may want to keep records that may be relevant to contract claims for the length of the statute of limitations in the relevant jurisdictions, which is often five or six years for written contracts.
I see no reason why you should not send the files to secure offsite storage, provided you have a means of retrieving them in a timely manner later.