Payroll Records

Although many payroll systems have fields to record various items of information about an employee, it does not necessarily mean that they all have to be used. A payroll system will normally indicate which items must be recorded for statutory purposes, but the use of any others should be a decision that is made in the light of the Data Protection Principles.

Under the law, all employers (including schools and ETBs (where payroll data is retained by ETB head offices) must keep records relating to all employees for whom PAYE/PRSI contributions are paid. The following details (where applicable) must be recorded at or before the time wages are paid:

  • The amount of each payment of earnings made to each employee during the year
  • The PAYE paid by the employee for each such payment
  • The PRSI contribution paid by the employee for each such payment and the total (employer's and employee's) contribution which you must pay over to the Collector-General, 
  • Start and end dates of employment within any income tax year, 
  • The contribution class that applies to each employee at the start of each contribution year (or when the employment began), 
  • The number of weeks of insurable employment for each employee in any income tax year and 
  • Where a change of contribution class occurs during the year, the new contribution class or subclass and the number of weeks of insurable employment at each of the different rates.

Schools (and ETB head offices) must keep these records for a period of at least six years after the end of the income tax year to which they refer (although 7 years is advisable: see Records Retention Schedule and you must, on request, make them available for inspection by authorised officers of the Revenue Commissioners or of the Department of Social Protection. However, the Department of Education and Skills advises that “pay, taxation and related school personnel service records should be retained indefinitely within the school”. These records can be kept either on a manual or computer system.

Superannuation Records for non-teaching personnel: Superannuation records include details of existing and previous pensioners, service records and superannuation lump sums and allowances paid.