Video: Why is 75 years such a common retention period? Who decided?

Today’s Analyst Tip video answers another one of our frequently asked questions around here: Why do so many employment records have a retention period of 75 years? Is 75 years significant for some reason? Who decided that retention period?

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2 thoughts on “Video: Why is 75 years such a common retention period? Who decided?

  1. There is more to the 75 year retention requirement for personnel records than this video covers. Seventy-five years is also a common period for how long records may be closed.

    In 1989, when the State Legislature passed the Local Government Records Act, Sec. 201.009(b) provided, “Any government record to which public access is denied…is, if still in existence, open to public inspection 75 years after it was originally created or received.” I do not know why Michael Heskett (who drafted the law) chose 75 years, but I suspect the fact that law closes census records for 72 years may have something to do with it. Moreover, other states often choose 75 years as a period for when a record is to be retained or closed for a long period–but not permanently.

    In the last analysis, 75 year rules are reminiscent of Tevye’s monolog from Fiddler on the Roof, “You may ask, how did this tradition get started? I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But it’s a tradition. And because of our traditions, everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.””

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