Employment records

Ngā Pūkete Whiwhinga Mahi

Some records are required by law

In all cases, boards are required, in terms of the Privacy Act 1993, to ensure that the information should be collected by lawful, reasonably unobtrusive, and fair means, and be complete, relevant, and up to date. Boards are also required to take reasonable steps to ensure personal information is stored securely.

Employees have a right to request access to information on their personal file and are entitled to seek correction where any information is considered inaccurate. There are some situations where an employer may refuse to give a person access to their personal information. These are set out in the Privacy Act 1993. They include the situation where the information is evaluative material and the disclosure of that evaluative material would breach an express or implied promise of confidentiality. If a person believes that the personal information the agency holds about him or her is incorrect, that person can ask that it be corrected. Boards have a responsibility to ensure that the personal information they hold is accurate, up to date, complete and not misleading. Where an agency believes that the information that it holds is correct, it may refuse to change it. The person may then ask that a statement of the correction that they asked to have made and the board has refused to make be attached to the information. Where this occurs, the board must attach the statement to the personal information in such a way that it will always be read in conjunction with the information in issue.

Design and storage of recorded information

For some information which is repetitive, a board may choose to design standard forms on which to record information and to make finding that information on a file easier (for example, schedules of teacher service).

Principle 5 of the Privacy Act 1993 requires that personal information be secure against loss, modification, or misuse to the extent that is reasonable in the circumstances. It also provides that, where it is necessary for information to be given to a person in connection with the provision of a service to the agency, everything reasonably within the power of the agency is done to prevent unauthorised use or unauthorised disclosure of the information. Boards that are handing personal information to other agencies in connection with the provision of a service of the board have a responsibility to ensure that the other agency will be complying with the Privacy Act. One way of doing this is to provide for compliance in any agreement with that agency.

Individual employee files, in particular, should be stored in a secure place, for example, a locked cabinet. Access to files should be limited to as few people as possible on a "need to know" basis (for example, the principal and staffing committee of the board of trustees) rather than a "like to know" basis. Storage of duplicate copies of essential personnel information should also be considered, in case of accidental destruction of original files.

When an employee leaves the school, it is expected that their file would be retained by the board for a certain period in case of any future inquiries (for example, wages and time records must be kept for 7 years).

Transfer of recorded information

If an employee leaves the school to work for another board of trustees, originals of certain information should be supplied to the new board (the board should retain photocopies of this information for its files for the appropriate retention period).

The information should be kept to a minimum. Only that which is relevant to the employment/service needs of the new employer and information on the appropriate entitlements is necessary.

For example:

  • verification of current and any previous service (list of positions held and dates of tenure, as evidenced by appointment and acceptance letters)
  • any leave entitlement still outstanding (for example, unused sick leave) and particulars of leave entitlements based on length of service
  • details of superannuation contributions, if any.
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