Schedule No. 150 Payroll Records

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Issued: July 2012
Updated: July 23, 2013

General Description: Records relating to the payroll administration of employees.

No record may be destroyed under this General Retention Schedule without the approval from the Records Department and the City and County of Denver’s Records Manager. Additionally, no record may be destroyed if the record is subject to an active litigation hold (refer to Executive Order 143-C). For additional information about the records program or records retention refer to Executive Order 143-B. The Records Management Program Policies and Procedures Manual for instruction about records creation, management, and disposition of individual records. The minimum retention periods specified in this schedule apply to the information contained within the record, regardless of the format of the record (paper, microfilm, electronic, etc.). Each agency must decide on the format for retention of each type of record, ensuring authenticity, readability, and accessibility for the entire retention period. Duplicate copies are NOT records. Copies that are created for administrative, convenience, reference or other purpose are NOT records and should be retained only until no longer useful. Electronic Records and Data must remain accessible, authentic, reliable, and useable through any kind of system change, update, or system end of life for the entire period of its retention, which shall be defined by information-type, as presented in this General Retention Schedule. Provided the data is an accurate representation of the information contained in the source documents from which the data was derived, the source documents need not be retained unless they contain other record information not contained in the electronic repository.


  1. Basis of Pay

    Records pertaining to additions to or deductions from wages paid, including credit union deduction requests, direct deposit authorizations, garnishments, pension deduction, deferred compensation deductions, etc.; the basis on which wages are paid; earnings per week; records containing employee's name, address, date of birth, occupation, rate of pay and compensation earned per week; includes payroll adjustment records as a result of overpayment, underpayment, etc. includes payroll records pertaining to both FLSA-Exempt and FLSA-Non-Exempt Employees.
    Note: The basis on which wages are paid must be documented in sufficient detail to permit calculation for each pay period including benefits and prerequisites. The records may include payment of wages, wage rates, job evaluations, merit and incentive programs and seniority systems. The basic reason for these records is to give the Wage-Hour Division an indication on whether or not sex discrimination exists.
    Retention: 3 years [29 CFR 516.2, 29 CFR 516.5, 29 CFR 1627.3]


  3. Direct Deposit Reports

    Retention: 2 years

  4. Time Change Records
    1. Unused accumulated leave records
      1. Active and terminated employees
        Retention: 3 years
    2. Time Change Requests
      Request and authorization for overtime, sick, vacation, travel, participation in bona fide work-related activities, compensatory, personal business, family and medical leave, long-term leave, military leave and other leave time.
      1. Military Leave
        Retention: Employees may spend up to 5 years on active duty and still be eligible for reemployment [38 USC 4312]
      2. Other Time Change Requests
        Retention: 2 years
  5. Payroll Reports
    1. End of Pay Period
      Retention: 2 years

  6. Payroll Tax Records

    Records of collection, distribution, deposit and transmittal of federal and state income taxes, including employer's quarterly federal tax return (941, 941E) and other similar federal and state forms.
    Retention: 15 years [26 CFR §301.6502-1]

  7. Register – Payroll [Year-End]

    Documentation of the earnings, voluntary and required deductions and withholdings of employees.
    Retention: 50 years

  8. Salary Surveys

    Studies and surveys conducted to gather comparative salary information for positions in comparable organizations.
    Retention: 3 years

  9. Time Worked Records

    All basic time and earnings cards or sheets and work production sheets of individuals where all or part of the employee's earnings are determined.
    Retention: 5 years [CRS 8-72-107]


  11. W-2 Forms

    Annual wage and tax statements documenting individual employee earnings and withholdings for state and federal income taxes and social security tax.
    Retention: 15 years [26 CFR §301.6502-1]