GDPR Compliance for HR Documents: What You Need to Know

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) regulation that came into effect on May 25, 2018. The aim of the regulation is to strengthen data protection laws in the European Union and provide better protection to individuals’ personal data. The GDPR applies to all organizations, regardless of their size, that handle or process the personal data of EU citizens.
One area where GDPR will have a significant impact is the management of HR documents. HR departments generate and handle a vast amount of personal data, ranging from job applications to employment contracts and performance appraisals. Compliance with GDPR regarding the collection, storage, and processing of employment-related personal data has become a necessity for all HR departments.
GDPR grants employees’ rights over their personal data and imposes obligations on employers. The regulation requires the HR departments to ensure that all personal data is handled lawfully, transparently, and processed with explicit consent from the employee. The HR team must comply with GDPR rules regardless of whether the employee is an EU citizen. Non-compliance with GDPR can lead to significant fines.
It is crucial for HR departments to review their data processes, policies and procedures to ensure compliance with GDPR. The HR departments need to consider the following factors for GDPR compliance:

1. Consent

According to GDPR, employers must obtain explicit consent from employees to gather, store and/or process their personal data. For HR documents, the GDPR necessitates that employers seek consent from employees from the onset of the employment relationship. The consent should describe the specific purpose for which the data would be processed and how long it would be retained.

2. Data Processing

Employers should maintain transparency in data processing activities. For instance, they must provide information such as the type of personal data processed, the reason for processing, the legal basis for processing the data, and the retention period, among others. Employers must also ensure that personal data is processed in compliance with GDPR principles.

3. Limitation of data processing and retention

Employers must ensure that the collected employee data is relevant and required for the purpose of processing or storing. Employers should dispose of any personal data which is no longer needed or required in lawful business operations. Employers must store the data only for as long as necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected.

4. Data Security

Employers must ensure that the HR data they process is secure and adequately protected from unauthorized access, alteration, or disclosure. They must evaluate the potential risks and apply necessary technical and organizational measures to minimize the risks. Employers should implement data breach response plans to respond to any incidents quickly.

5. Employee rights

Employers must comply with GDPR rules on employee’s rights to access, rectification, restriction of processing, and erasure of their personal data. Employees also have the right to object to the processing of their personal data under specific circumstances.
In conclusion, as organizations continue to collect and handle large amounts of personal data, HR departments have a significant role to play in ensuring compliance with GDPR. HR professionals are responsible for handling personal data of employees and job applicants, and they must adhere to GDPR principles to ensure compliance. Employers must put in place appropriate policies, procedures, and security measures to protect personal data and comply with GDPR rules consistently. It is essential for employers to notify employees about their rights regarding their personal data. By doing so, employers can establish trustful relationships with their employees by giving assurance about their privacy rights and ultimately improve employee engagement and retention.

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