Every employer has certain mandatory records that they must keep and be prepared to provide to the appropriate agency when needed. The two primary types of records that must be kept are Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information.
Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA)
Every employer covered by OSHA who has more than ten employees, except for employers in certain low-hazard industries such as retail, finance, insurance, real estate, and some service industries, must maintain OSHA-specified records of job-related injuries and illnesses. There are two such records, the OSHA Form 200, and the OSHA Form 101.
The OSHA Form 200 is an injury/illness log, with a separate line entry for each recordable injury or illness (essentially those work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses other than minor injuries that require only first aid treatment and that do not involve medical treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to another job). A summary section of the OSHA Form 200, which includes the total of the previous year's injury and illness experience, must be posted in the workplace for the entire month of February each year.
The OSHA Form 101 is an individual incident report that provides added detail about each individual recordable injury or illness. An equivalent insurance or workers' compensation form that provides the same details may be substituted for the OSHA Form 101.
Unless an employer has been selected in a particular year to be part of a national survey of workplace injuries and illnesses conducted by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers with ten or fewer employees or employers in traditionally low-hazard industries are exempt from maintaining these records; all employers selected for the BLS survey must maintain the records. Employers so selected will be notified before the end of the year to begin keeping records during the coming year, and technical assistance on completing these forms is available from the state offices which select these employers for the survey.
See OSHA's Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness for more information.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Keep all records of employment taxes for at least four years. These should be available for IRS review. Records should include:
- Your employer identification number.
- Amounts and dates of all wage, annuity, and pension payments.
- Amounts of tips reported.
- The fair market value of in-kind wages paid.
- Names, addresses, social security numbers, and occupations of employees and recipients.
- Any employee copies of Form W-2 that were returned to you as undeliverable.
- Dates of employment.
- Periods for which employees and recipients were paid while absent due to sickness or injury and the amount and weekly rate of payments you or third-party payers made to them.
- Copies of employees' and recipients' income tax withholding allowance certificates (Forms W-4, W-4P, W-4S, and W-4V).
- Dates and amounts of tax deposits you made.
- Copies of returns filed.
- Records of allocated tips.
- Records of fringe benefits provided, including substantiation.