May personnel files be digitally archived?
In the course of digitalisation, personnel files in companies are also frequently digitalised. At the moment, there are no legal provisions for the electronic archiving of documents under labour law.
The limitation period arising from an employment relationship differs for the employer and the employee. The employee’s claims arising from the employment relationship expire after 5 years. The employer’s claims against the employee, however, only become time-barred after 10 years, as the employer has to adhere to the limitation period stipulated in the Code of Obligations.
The shorter limitation period of 5 years only applies to monetary benefits such as wages, bonuses, overtime wages, wage supplements, holiday pay, etc. The longer limitation period of 10 years applies to the claim for an employer’s reference, reasons for termination and possible claims for damages, satisfaction and compensation.
For these reasons, it is advisable to continue to keep the personnel files physically, as there is no clear legal regulation for digital storage. Particularly in labour law proceedings, it is important that certain documents are available in written form with original signatures.