Careers Succeeding at Work The Purpose and Contents of an Employee Payroll File Share PINTEREST Email Print Cultura RM/Julian Love/Cultura/Getty Images Succeeding at Work Human Resources Glossary Job Search Resources Hiring Best Practices Employment Law Employee Motivation Employee Management Management Careers Management & Leadership Employee Benefits By Susan M. Heathfield Susan M. Heathfield Susan Heathfield is an HR and management consultant with an MS degree. She has decades of experience writing about human resources. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 03/14/19 The employee payroll file is the repository for everything that has to do with an employee's paycheck. The main reason to create a payroll file is to limit access to the rest of the confidential information that is located in the personnel file. The Purpose of an Employee Payroll File The payroll file enables accounting staff to pay the employee without accessing employee confidential information. Accounting staff can keep payroll records where it makes sense for paying the employee. In instances where payroll and accounting are outsourced, this is an even more recommended practice for the employee's payroll records. The payroll file limits accessibility to confidential employee information. The employee payroll file enables accounting and finance staff to have the information they need to pay the employee in a handy location. The location should be secure and out-of-reach to any other employees. You need to impress on accounting staff the fact that the information in the payroll files is confidential and should not be shared without the permission and sign off from HR staff. Nor should accounting staff share any information about employee raises, promotions, bonuses, and any other information that is confidential about employees. Human Resources does not need to monitor accounting's access to the employee payroll files. As is recommended for related employee files such as the personnel and medical files, you should limit access to the payroll file. Only people who need to have the information to do their job should see the contents. Contents of an Employee Payroll File This is a suggested list of what belongs in an employee payroll file. Offer letter signed by the hiring manager, Human Resources, and employeePay authorization signed by Human Resources and the hiring manager when an employee contract existsW-4 formPaperwork and authorization relating to any employee benefit that involves a payroll deductionDirect deposit authorization formSalaried time accounting formsHourly weekly time sheetsTime clock records, where usedAttendance recordsExpense reimbursement requests including documentation and receipts for travel and other authorized expendituresTuition reimbursement forms and receipts for payment, books, and so forthPay in advance request formsCompany loan documents and payment scheduleGarnishment orders and recordsAuthorization for release of private informationPaperwork relating to each employee raisePaperwork related to any bonus, profit sharing, or recognition awardW-2 formsAuthorization for any other payroll actions that your company permits Also Known As employee files, employee records, human resources files, documentation Note: Susan Heathfield makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, and workplace advice on this website, but she is not an attorney. The content on the site is not to be construed as legal advice. The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the articles cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel. The information on the site is provided for guidance only.