Payroll and Benefits

Payroll and Benefits

The University of Wisconsin System comprises fifteen distinct institutions, many of which create and receive records that are similar in purpose and utility. In the interest of efficiency, therefore, this records schedule identifies categories of records that are common to all University of Wisconsin institutions, so as to avoid making each institution secure a distinct retention schedule for the same categories of records.

In 2011, the UW System HRS, Human Resources System, will be implemented. HRS is a UW System wide ERP (enterprise resource planning) application. It is a replacement of the systems that have supported the core functions of human resources, benefit and payroll for all UW System institutions.The implementation of the HRS system will dramatically impact the management or personnel and payroll records. Beginning in the spring of 2011, official personnel and payroll information and records will reside within the HRS system with the exception personnel files. It will also mean that these official records will be digitally born. This GRS therefore applies first and foremost to the HRS system, but it also applies to individual UW institutions in situations in which the official record lies with the institution or· where supplemental systems managed by the institutions support or supply additional personnel and/or payroll information.


This GRS governs the retention and disposition of records produced or managed by the following functional areas:

  • Benefits Administration (programs administered by the Dept. of Employee Trust Funds, taxshelter annuity programs, various insurance programs)
  • Payroll (tax withholding, payroll processing)
  • Absence Management (leave accounting)
  • Time and Labor (calculation of wages)

Records deemed out of scope for this GRS include:

This general schedule does not cover the processes of collective bargaining. It also does not include Workers Compensation or Unemployment Compensation records.This schedule was written to govern the retention and disposition of electronic data produced and/or maintained by the HRS system; however, institutions may maintain supplemental electronic record keeping systems. If the records produced by such supplemental systems are not covered by items contained within this GRS, the institution then needs to develop its own retention schedule to govern such systems.

Supplemental Information Systems
The institution should also identify the institution record copy and its location in the institution.The institution record copy is that copy that must be retained to satisfy any institution-specific audit or legal requirement of the institution's operations


A. Preservation of Historic Records.
Historic records are those that must be retained indefinitely because of their historical character. Historic records stored only in electronic form must comply with the legal·requirements set forth in: Regent Policy Document 3-2: University of Wisconsin System Public Records Management; and Chapter Adm 12: Electronic Records Management-Standards and Requirements. It is expected that some human resources records will be classified as having historical or permanent value to either UW System or the employing UW System institution.

B. Use of the Records Series Approach.
The records schedules included within this document were developed using the "records series" approach defined in Wis. Stat. § 16.61(2)(c).

C. Use of Flexible Scheduling or Big Bucket Approach.
Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP, systems, like People Soft, provides the capability to create awide variety of reports and queries to the system. The flexible scheduling or 'Big Bucket' approach means that some items within the GRS cover records in multiple series and/or electronic systems that relate to the same subject matter, business function,-or work process.All the series/systems covered by a big bucket item have the same ultimate disposition. The records within the bucket are either all permanent or all temporary and, if the bucket is temporary, all the series/systems within it have the same retention period.

D. Destruction Authorization.
The records schedules included within this document establish minimum retention periods for each type of record. The disposition of each record is assumed to be destruction after its minimum retention period. However, expired records may be retained beyond the retention date in the discretion of University administrators.

E. Records to be retained.
In accordance with Wisconsin law, records to be retained are those defined as in the Wisconsin Statutes as "public records," that are made or received by any university employee in connection with the transaction of university business. See Wis. Stat. § 16.61{2)(b). Public records do not include the following:

1. Duplicates maintained by a university employee only for convenience or reference and for no other substantive purpose.

2. Unsolicited notices or invitations which are not related to any official action taken,proposed, or considered by the University of Wisconsin System.

3. Drafts, notes, preliminary computations and like materials intended for personal use by an individual university employee or prepared by a university employee in the name of the person for whom the employee is working.

4. Routing slips and envelopes.

5. Materials that are purely the personal property of a university employee and have no relation to his or her office.Records that are not "public records~~ under the definition may be destroyed at the discretion of university administrators.

F. Duplicate personnel records and shadow filing systems.
While retention periods outlined in this GRS apply to the official record, the maintenance of duplicate records and shadow filing systems is common in the personnel process. If any unique material is present in a file, it is no longer a duplicate but represent another original record. It must be maintained the same period of time as the original record.

H. Definitions
Internet Applicant- (Definition retrieved from the Dept. of Labor 2-28-2011). An Internet Applicant is defined a·s an individual who satisfies the following four criteria:

  • The individual submits an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies;
  •  The contractor considers the individual for employment in a particular position;
  •  The individual's expression of interest indicates the individual possesses the basic qualifications for the position; and,
  • The individual at no point in the contractor's selection process prior to receiving an offer of employment from the contractor, removes himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicates that he or she is no longer interested in the position.

All recommended dispositions provided within this schedule may be carried out by University of Wisconsin administrators except that records may not be destroyed where required to be retained by law or policy including, but not limited to, a pending public records request,lawsuit, audit, or legal hold

Human RS and Records Retention
The following factors should be kept in mind in interpreting and applying records retention requirements outlined in this document.

The Human Resource System (HRS}, holds the official human resource and payroll information received, generated, and maintained on University of Wisconsin System employees, however; UW institutions and employing units will continue to maintain HR records including supplemental systems. This means there is a shared responsibility for records retention.Records series will indicate whether HRS or UW institutions have responsibility for retention of the original record. In some instances, there is a shared responsibility for records retention.

Storage media and Retention
This GRS does not address storage media or implementation strategy for records retention. However,interfaces (data files transmitted externally or received) are specifically identified.