Ohio Rules How Long to Keep Employment Records

Private employees in Ohio have no legal rights to review their personnel records.
Private employees in Ohio have no legal rights to review their personnel records. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The United States Department of Labor administers the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Pursuant to federal law, covered employers must comply with the act's record retention requirements. In addition to federal regulations, states can enact additional record requirements for employers. In Ohio, the state law requires private employers to keep employment wage and hour records for at least three years. However, public agencies and state or local government employers must retain wage and hour records.

Federal Law

The United States Department of Labor requires employers to keep pay and wage records, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires covered employers to retain records of each of their employee's pay rate, weekly work hours, the beginning and end date for each work period, total overtime work hour, standard work hours and pay contact information. Employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act are those who transact interstate business, generate annual gross sales or business of $500,000 or more, hospitals, nursing homes and mental institutions, schools and public agencies.

Types of Federal Records

Covered employers must retain contact information for each of their employees, including gender and job title, full physical address, full name and social security number and birth date if younger than 19 years old. As long as employers retain their payroll records for at least three years, the Code of Federal Regulations does not mandate how they keep them, i.e., electronically or physically. Additionally, employers must maintain timesheets or time clock records for at least two years, including wages and deductions for each pay period. The federal government requires employers to keep sales invoices and collective bargaining agreements for each of their employees, as applicable, for at least three years.

Ohio Records

Ohio law imposes additional record-keeping requirements for public agencies, school districts, local governments and state agencies. These employers must retain specific types of workplace personnel records in addition to complying with the wage and hour record-keeping laws. Public employers must retain death certificates, personnel records and formal agency personnel decisions for at least three years. Additionally, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the Ohio Division of Industrial Compliance and Labor and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration require employers to keep safety workplace records for up to 30 years documenting job-related hospitalizations, fatalities and exposure to harmful chemicals and substances.

Types of Ohio Wage Records

According to the Ohio Revised Code Section 4111.08 and 4111.14(F), employers must keep records of wage and work hours for each of their employees for at least three years. They must retain records of each employee's name, gender, address, job title, job duties, hours worked daily and weekly, pay rate and overtime compensation. Business wage records are subject to inspection and review by the Division of Labor.


Since state laws can frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.

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