Skip to the main content

Data Retention for Charities


Statutory retention period

Statutory authority

accident books, accident records/reports

3 years after the date of the last entry (see below for accidents involving chemicals or asbestos)

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)

(SI 1995/3163) as amended

accounting records

3 years for private companies, 6 years for public limited companies

Section 221 of the Companies Act 1985 as modified by the Companies Acts 1989 and 2006

income tax and NI returns, income tax records and correspondence with the Inland Revenue

not less than 3 years after the end of the financial year to which they relate

The Income Tax (Employments) Regulations 1993

(SI 1993/744) as amended, for example by The Income Tax (Employments) (Amendment No. 6) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/2631)

medical records and details of biological tests under the Control of Lead at Work Regulations

40 years from the date of the last entry

The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 1998

(SI 1998/543) as amended by the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2676)

medical records as specified by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH)

40 years from the date of the last entry

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 and 2002 (COSHH) (SIs 1999/437 and 2002/2677)

medical records under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations

·       medical records containing details of employees exposed to asbestos

·       medical examination certificates

  • 40 years from the date of the last entry

  • 4 years from the date of issue

The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/ 2675). Also see the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/. 2739)

medical records under the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999

until the person reaches 75 years of age, but in any event for at least 50 years

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999

(SI 1999/3232)

records of tests and examinations of control systems and protective equipment under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH)

5 years from the date on which the tests were carried out

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 and 2002 (COSHH) (SIs 1999/437 and 2002/2677)

records relating to children

until the child reaches the age of 21

Limitation Act 1980

records relating to events notifiable under the Retirement Benefits Schemes (Information Powers) Regulations 1995, records concerning decisions to allow retirement due to incapacity, pension accounts and associated documents

6 years from the end of the scheme year in which the event took place, or the date upon which the accounts/reports were signed/completed.

The Retirement Benefits Schemes (Information Powers) Regulations 1995

(SI 1995/3103)

Statutory Maternity Pay records, calculations, certificates (Mat B1s) or other medical evidence

3 years after the end of the tax year in which the maternity period ends

The Statutory Maternity Pay (General) Regulations 1986

(SI 1986/1960) as amended

Statutory Sick Pay records, calculations, certificates, self-certificates

3 years after the end of the tax year to which they relate

The Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982

(SI 1982/894) as amended

wage/salary records (also overtime, bonuses, expenses)

6 years

Taxes Management Act 1970

Recommended retention periods (ie where no statutory retention periods exist)

For many types of personnel records, there is no definitive retention period: it is up to the employer to decide how long to keep these records and it’s a question of judgment rather than there being any definitive right and wrong. An employer needs to consider what would be a necessary retention period, depending on the type of record. The advice in this factsheet is based on the time limits for potential tribunal or civil claims and aims to draw sensible conclusions as to how long keeping the records will protect an employer.

Where the recommended retention period given is 6 years, this is based on the 6-year time limit within which legal proceedings must be commenced as laid down under the Limitation Act 1980. Thus, where documents may be relevant to a contractual claim, it is recommended that these be retained for at least the corresponding 6-year limitation period.


Recommended retention period

actuarial valuation reports


application forms and interview notes (for unsuccessful candidates)

6 months to a year. (Because of the time limits in the various discrimination Acts, for example the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, minimum retention periods for records relating to advertising of vacancies and job applications should be at least 6 months. Successful job applicants documents will be transferred to the personnel file in any event.)

assessments under Health and Safety Regulations and records of consultations with safety representatives and committees


Inland Revenue approvals


money purchase details

6 years after transfer or value taken

parental leave

5 years from birth/adoption of the child or 18 years if the child receives a disability allowance

pension scheme investment policies

12 years from the ending of any benefit payable under the policy

pensioners’ records

12 years after benefit ceases

personnel files and training records (including disciplinary records and working time records)

6 years after employment ceases

redundancy details, calculations of payments, refunds, notification to the Secretary of State

6 years from the date of redundancy

senior executives’ records (that is, those on a senior management team or their equivalents)

permanently for historical purposes

time cards

2 years after audit

trade union agreements

10 years after ceasing to be effective

trust deeds and rules


trustees’ minute books


works council minutes