Staff files policy

Intent

RMIT is committed to the responsible handling and storing of staff files in a way that respects confidentiality and privacy.

Scope

This policy applies to all casual, fixed term and continuing staff members.

Exclusions

None

Objectives

This policy ensures that staff files are managed appropriately in terms of content, storage, access, privacy and use.

Policy provisions

The University maintains an official personal file for each staff member. This file is the only official University record of interactions between the University and the individual staff member regarding their employment.

Only data recorded on this file may be used to establish the factual basis of the employment relationship between the individual staff member and the University.

Contents of the personal file

Any event concerning any significant relationships between a staff member and the University is to be recorded on this file. An official electronic personal file may contain the following documents:

  • personal data
  • employment history
  • recruitment documentation, including successful application and resumé
  • certified copies of certificates/academic qualifications
  • residency and visa information
  • evidence of change of personal details (for example, marriage certificate)
  • offer of appointment
  • position description/s
  • leave data
  • pay details
  • redeployment details
  • resignation letters
  • superannuation details
  • separation details, including redundancy and voluntary separation details
  • income tax details relevant to employment with RMIT

Information not contained in the personal file

The following information is not placed in the official personal file but stored and maintained in other files by Human Resources.

  • references or referee reports obtained by the University as part of its consideration for recruitment, secondment or promotion
  • sensitive medical reports and medical evaluations
  • Work Cover files concerning a staff member who has sustained injury while in the workplace
  • other matters that would be exempt under Freedom of Information legislation

Other files concerning an individual staff member’s data may exist in the University. These are not within the scope of this policy. The Freedom of Information Officer determines who can access this information:

Confidentiality and Privacy

The official personal file is a University management document. The University recognises that access to the file must be constrained by the need to preserve the individual’s privacy.

Personal files are kept in electronic form securely within Human Resources and in hard copy form in the University’s archive in accordance with University archiving policy and procedure. Access will only be granted where (i) the requester can demonstrate the information is needed for legitimate purposes and privacy will be maintained; or (ii) at the request of the staff member concerned as detailed below.

Any staff member obtaining information from an official personal file for University purposes is required to maintain the confidentiality of the information.

The information is to be used only for the purpose permitted. Staff personal information will not be left in public view or where it can be easily accessed by unauthorised individuals.

Staff right of access to their own personal file

A staff member has the right to access their official personal file while employed by the University. Where a staff member requests to view their official personal file, arrangements to obtain access to the file are to be made with Human Resources. A staff member should give 48 hours notice in writing to access their personal file. Identification will be required when requesting personal file information in person (e.g. staff identification card, drivers license).

Other authorised access

The following positions may access official personal files for staff within their area of responsibility:

  • the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vice President Resources, Executive Director Vocational Education, Dean, Deputy Dean, Associate Dean, Executive Director of Group, Director of Group, Head of School
  • the University General Counsel when authorised by the Vice-Chancellor or when consulted by any of the persons listed above
  • committees of Council when authorised by Council
  • authorised Human Resources staff, in the course of their duties

Release of information from the staff file

Apart from those occasions where it is required by law, information from an official personal file may only be released outside the University for the following reasons:

  • to confirm employment with the University, either current or past
  • to provide service details required to establish a former staff member’s entitlements in recognition of service (for example, for the purpose of long service leave)
  • to provide information to a superannuation fund in connection with membership of the fund
  • to provide information to the University’s legal advisers
  • to deal with an emergency (in this case sufficient information can be released at the discretion of an authorised officer)

From time to time information from personal files may be required to be released for other purpose or to bodies not listed above. In such cases, the information will only be released with the staff member’s agreement and where privacy requirements are assured.

Maintenance of personal files

Official personal files are established and maintained by Human Resources. Information may only be added to or removed from a file by authorised members of Human Resources in the course of their duties.

Files are managed and stored in line with the University’s record and document management policy.

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