Timesheet Retention


When locating the guidelines for pay related employment records, it is important to check all of the pertinent sections of the University Archives Records Retention Schedule.  You may need to look in various functional areas:  Payroll Records, Personnel Records, Student Financial Aid, and Grant and Research Records.  The Payroll Records section provides timesheet retention periods according to Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs).

Relevant state and federal laws all list varying retention periods for timesheets: from 2 years to 8 years, in some instances based on funding source or employee class.   In addition, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) addresses the importance of timesheet retention from the standpoint of potential wage claims.  . 


  • Record Copy - This is the official copy of the record.  The decision is made at the department or unit level as to who retains the official copy when "Unit" is indicated.
  • Other Copies - These are additional copies retained by other unspecified departments.

BOLI Wage and Hour Laws

Recordkeeping Requirements (from BOLI Wage & Hour Laws 2012 Edition)

It is the employer's responsibility to maintain accurate time and payroll records. OAR 839-020-0080. Employers who neglect this important responsibility may deprive themselves of some of the best evidence for defending a wage claim or complaint.  In addition, BOLI's Wage and Hour Division may assess civil penalties against employers who fail to keep required records. ORS 653.045; OAR 839-020-1010.

Employers may require employees to submit time records and may discipline employees who fail to submit timely records of hours worked.  That said, it remains the employer's responsibility to ensure such records are made and kept available.  In addition, an employee's failure to submit timely records of hours worked in not a lawful reason for delaying or withholding wages due on payday.   

Records required by federal law must be kept for a period of three years past the date of the records.  29 C. F. R. § 516.5.  Oregon law requires that employers keep the records for only two years.  Oregon employers who are subject to the FLSA must apply the stricter federal standard.  Because wage claims and/or contract claims may be filed in Oregon for up to six years, it may be advisable to keep records for longer than the law requires.

Relevant OARs
Below is the text of the OARs referenced in the University Archives Records Retention Schedule.

Employee Time Records OAR 166-475-0090 (4)

Records document hours worked and leave hours accrued and taken by agency, institution and student employees. Information may include employee name and other personally identifiable information, work schedule, days and time worked, leave time, work-study related time records and approval signatures.

Record Copy: Payroll, Units

Retention: (a) 5 years after issuance of final financial report to awarding agency by the research accounting unit for records of all students paid from U.S. Dept. of Education awards, destroy; (b) Retain 4 year unclassified/classified/management personnel, destroy; (c) 3 years for all others, destroy.

Pay Authorization Records OAR 166-475-0090(8)

Records document pay documents which substantiate and, in part, authorize the issuance of payroll checks for particular amounts. This series may include but is not limited to payroll/budget request forms and time cards.

Record Copy: Payroll

Retention: 5 years, destroy.

Other Copies: Units 
Retention: 1 year, destroy.

Note:  Since time sheets at the UO are not entered into PHAHOUR by the Payroll Office, departments (Units) must retain the Record Copy.

Filing Recommendations

Keep timesheets separate from the personnel file.  It is easier to file and purge when timesheets are kept in folders by month/year, rather than by individual name. 

Questions and Answers

Q.  Do I have to retain all the back-up documentation, such as vacation leave requests, emails on doctor's appointments, along with the time sheet for nonexempt employees?

A.  Yes.  It is important to have all of the related documentation and correspondence.  BOLI reports that even though time sheets are signed by both employee and supervisor, wage claims are still brought forward many years after the event.

Q.  What do I need to know if I am retaining e-mails as part of the related time sheet documentation?  (For example, a request for vacation leave or notification of planned sick leave absences such as a doctor or dental appointment.)

A.  You should read the E-Mail Message Management section of the Archivist website, specifically the E-Mail Message Filing notes.