What does OED stand for in the HR department

HR master data

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Definition: what is meant by HR master data?

Personnel master data are personal data of the employees of a company. These are characterized by the fact that they are relatively constant over time. The HR department and the payroll department are responsible for maintaining the HR master data. These are required, among other things, to run payrolls. Since personal data are subject to the provisions of the GDPR, these must also be complied with when handling personnel master data.

What are examples of HR master data?

The personnel master data, which are usually collected from employees when they start work, include, for example:

  • Full name
  • address
  • nationality
  • Contact
  • Personnel number
  • tax number
  • Health insurance data
  • Social security number
  • Entry date
  • Activity in the company
  • Monthly salary
  • Bank details

How is HR master data created or maintained?

Personnel master data are usually collected and created at the beginning of the employment relationship. Since the data is intended to be used over a longer period of time, it must be maintained. In this context, data maintenance means noting any changes to personal data and thus ensuring that the data record is correct and complete. This also includes entering new data completely into the system. It is advantageous here to choose a clear master data system, with digital systems corresponding to today's standard.

How long must personnel master data be kept?

HR master data must be in the company as long as it is processed, i.e. for the entire duration of the employment relationship. Nevertheless, these are subject to a retention period after termination. The rule of thumb is that HR master data must be kept for at least three years after the end of the employment relationship. After the adoption of the GDPR, data storage is generally prohibited if data processing is no longer necessary. Since the retention period is a legal obligation of the company, no separate approval from the (former) employee is required. However, they have the right to have their data deleted.

What must be considered when handling HR master data according to the GDPR?

HR master data are to be regarded as sensitive and personal data and therefore they are subject to the GDPR. The GDPR states that data processing that is necessary to fulfill legal obligations is lawful. For example, the preparation of a pay slip is part of the fulfillment of legal obligations. This means that in this case no separate permit is required from the employee. It looks different if, for example, photos are published. This has to be agreed individually as it is not a legal obligation of the employer.

In principle, employees must be informed about the purposes of data processing and the data may only be used for this purpose. If personal data is passed on to external service providers, e.g. to an external payroll office, a written order processing contract must be concluded with them.


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