Which employee-related documents do I need to keep?

South African legislation makes it very clear that you, the employer, have an obligation to keep employee-related records. 

Employers are required to make sure that the paperwork is accurate, on time, and available to their employees, to their company-representatives, and to any government representative who may request these during an inspection/audit.

Therefore, it is crucial to know exactly where everything is filed (whether it be manually or electronically filed), no doubt makes prudent company sense.

There are two methods of filing that exists: the ‘old-fashioned’ manual filing method, and the more modern electronic document filing method.

Lets discuss which employee-related records need to be filed, and who may request audit-access to these filed documents that ought (at all times) to reside in your organization’s secure document archives.


What needs to be filed: BCEA-related?

A good start would be to turn to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75, of 1997 (BCEA), which informs us of the statutory requirement of having a written contract of employment. This contract must include the following details:

  • the full name and address of the employer;
  • the name and occupation of the employee, or a brief description of the exact type of work/duties which the employee was hired to perform;
  • the place of work, and, where the various locations where the employee is required (or permitted) to perform his/her duties;
  • the date on which the employment contract commenced;
  • the employee’s ordinary “hours of work” and “days of work”;
  • the employee’s wage (alternatively, the contract to stipulate the rate and method to be used in order to calculate his/her wages);
  • the rate/s of pay for overtime work;
  • any other cash payments that the employee is entitled to;
  • any payment ‘in kind’ that the employee is entitled to, as well as to clearly state the monetary equivalent-value of this ‘in kind’ method of payment;
  • how frequently remuneration will be paid (i.e. frequency of payment intervals);
  • any deductions to be made from the employee’s remuneration;
  • the exact categories/types of leave which the employee is entitled to;
  • the period of notice required in order to terminate the employment contract, or if employment is for a limited/specified period of time: the date upon which employment contract ceases;
  • a description of any bargaining council or sectoral determination that governs further regulations specific to the type of business/organisation which the employee works at;
  • any period of employment (with a previous employer) that may need to be factored into the employee’s new employment contract;
  • a list of any other documents that form part of the contract of employment, whilst also indicating where the employee may (reasonably easily) access a copy of each of these documents.

Once an employee’s service with the organization ends, record of his/her contract of employment must be archived for a period of three years after their leaving.


More filing needed: all hours worked and remuneration paid?

The organization is obliged to keep a comprehensive set of records of all employees’ monthly hours worked and full details of remuneration paid to each and every employee:

  • the employer’s name and address;
  • the employee’s name and occupation;
  • the period for which the payment is made;
  • the employee’s remuneration in money; (e) the amount and purpose of any deduction made from the remuneration;
  • the actual amount paid to the employee; and
  • if relevant to the calculation of that employee’s remuneration
  • the employee’s rate of remuneration and overtime rate;
  • the number of ordinary and overtime hours worked by the employee during the period for which the payment is made;
  • the number of hours worked by the employee on a Sunday or public holiday during that period;


This abovementioned information must appear on each employee’s pay slip. Each single employee must be given a copy of their pay slip (which may be done during working hours or within 15 minutes after the employee’s shift has ended).

The organization is required to keep an archived record of these documents for a period of 5 years.

Last but not least, an inspector (that has been legally and duly appointed in terms of the BCEA) may enter the organization’s premises at any time, without a warrant or notice, and proceed with a compliance audit.

It is required by the organization and its representatives to prove that all employment-related records are accurate. Dependent upon the type of contraventions that may be discovered by the inspector, the BCEA provisions for a punitive fine of up to R 500 per employee (and/or a period of imprisonment for up to three years).

No filing records: contraventions discovered by an inspector, may attract a fine of up to R 500 per employee

Payslip recommends that you ensure that your employee-related records are always filed accordingly (manually, or electronically) and are in order for possible inspection/audit.

Thankfully, Payslip has gained the experienced capacity to help make your organization’s record-keeping an easy, effort-free enjoyment. With an automated pay slip process, Payslip  keeps all your essential and valuable employee-records online (safely and securely stored in the Cloud). These records are readily and easily available (at the click of a button) at any time.

You may also elect to process your payroll, Payslip can do it all for you, on your behalf — a fully outsourced and comprehensive solution for your organization.


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