The human resources (HR) department of a company handles its relations with employees and the formal obligations related to it.
However, how tasks are distributed in the department itself depends on the structure of a company.
Small companies usually employ an individual for this role, or they outsource these tasks. But large enterprises have extensive HR and payroll teams responsible for the proper circulation of documents.
If you are interested in this topic, you can consider studying in this area. You can also choose an HR and payroll course to prepare for your dream job.
In this article, we will talk about the main responsibilities of a human resources department, and how to take them on properly.
What does an HR department do?
HR specialists mainly keep records related to employment, contracts, and payroll. They deal with tax and contribution settlements of employees, as well as compliance with all health and safety regulations. In some organizations, HR departments are also responsible for recruiting processes.
A job in the human resources and payroll department is extremely responsible and demanding, as each specialist in this field needs to go through preparations and have certain qualifications. Knowledge of the labour code and tax regulations are extremely important, as well as knowledge in many fields.
Importantly, any HR employee must know their responsibility in the company as they handle prompt remuneration of employees and compliance of the company’s activities with applicable laws.
The main responsibilities of a human resources department
According to the labour code, each employee must perform his or her work conscientiously and diligently and follow the instructions of their superiors.
This should be in concurrence with the labour code, relevant regulations and provisions as agreed to in the employment contract.
Staff often deal with both employment and remuneration obligations and keeping all employee records under the legal requirements and standards settled with an employer.
This applies to both the preparation of documents and management of personal data, storage and archiving.
Preparation of documents
An HR specialist prepares various documents. First, she or he deals with drafting contracts (employment agreement or contract of mandate) for new employees, prepares time sheets and creates payrolls.
Archiving of documents
Hardly anyone knows all the rules of archiving documents. It is important to check how long employees’ identities should be kept at the company, as these regulations vary according to specific country.
What to do with HR documents when the retention period ends?
Some companies decide to destroy the files, others keep them. Some of them archive the content of files by taking photos, after which they use the documents. However, this problem affects a small percentage of enterprises.
A company may be punished for the wrong storage of employee records. It is the staff who ensure the collection and storage of files under applicable law, including the personal data protection act.
The tasks of the HR department include making settlements related to employees. They deal with the calculation of remuneration for work, handling sick leave or annual leave, as well as taking care of pay slips.
The HR department is also responsible for keeping records of working time and for controlling all exceptional circumstances such as sick leave, holiday, overtime and business trips.
Controlling how many hours an employee has been working in each month allows for a correct calculation of a remuneration that a company should pay him or her for work.
Thanks to modern technology such as computer software or work time registration systems based on contactless cards or even biometric readers, it supports quick and accurate verification of the total number of hours worked by an employee.
Issuing referrals for routine tests
Another HR obligation is to ensure that each employee has up-to-date medical examinations.
According to law, an employee who has not performed the required tests may not work. It is the employer’s responsibility to give an employee a referral for tests, especially newly appointed employees.
Organization of trainings in occupational health and safety
Workplace health and safety training is another legal constraint and responsibility of the HR department. Training in occupational health and safety and providing employees with favorable working conditions is one of the main employer’s obligations.
Cooperation with the revenue, the National Insurance Institution, and others
The daily routine of a staff member is to send relevant information to various institutions. The HR specialist keeps in touch with the tax office or the National Insurance institution and provides data to others like the Central Statistical Office or National Disabled Persons’ Rehabilitation Fund.
Reporting employees and contractors for insurance
The HR department reports employees to social security and health insurance.
Employees falling under an employment contract are obligatory, covered by social and health insurance. However, for people working based on civil law agreements, these obligations are different and often changing. The HR department must therefore keep up with these changes.
Recruitment of new employees
Sometimes the human resources department deals with the recruitment and training of employees, like when a company does not have a separate department responsible for so-called “soft HR”. In short, this term refers to all matters related to recruitment, competences, development, and employee satisfaction.
The tasks of the HR specialist may include the entire process of recruiting new employees, and this involves many activities.
A staff member plans their staffing needs, looks for job candidates, edits and publishes job advertisements in the media and on the internet and sends them to employment bureaus. He then contacts the candidates and interviews them.
The HR specialist also manages recruitment documents and controls the recruitment process: from the first step until the employment of a new staff member and onboarding (which means acquainting yourself with the brief and corporate culture of the company).
Organizing trainings and carrying out development activities
In some companies, the tasks of HR include also taking care of the professional development of employees, especially if they’ve been hired without much experience.
Human resources department examine the development needs in the organization and, on their basis, prepare a training offer. Then they establish cooperation with external trainers or training companies.
It is possible for HR specialists to prepare and conduct workshops for employees in the organization or initiate internal training themselves.
As you can see, the role of the HR employee depends on how work of the other company’s departments is organized.
Therefore, as a human resources manager, you should be prepared to face a variety of responsibilities.
It is worth being familiar with all of them in order to know what you can expect in organizations where a HR department takes over most of the tasks related to human relations management.
Other important responsibilities of a human resources department
In large organizations, there are often contractors and principals who are associated with a company by various types of contracts.
In such cases, even if the contracts are not related to the company’s employees falling under an employment agreement, it is the HR department that handles the processing and protection of personal data of contractors.
Sometimes, HR tasks also include:
- cooperation with trade unions,
- administration of an employee incentive programs,
- management of the employee periodic appraisal system.
Keeping personal files
All the above aspects of HR specialist job are associated with many documents.
The main responsibility of the HR department is having custody of personal files, which are a collection of employee documents that concern the initiation, process and termination of a relationship of employment. Labor law states that the employer keeps personal files for each employee.
They consist of three parts:
- Part A contains documents related to recruitment to a post. These can be a high-school certificate, record of employment or a personal questionnaire.
- Part B contains documents related to the establishment of the employment relationship and the course of employment. It includes employment contracts, certificates of occupational health and safety training (OHS) or documents related to imposing a sanction on the employee.
- Part C contains documents related to the termination of employment, for example a notice of contract or a copy of an employment certificate.
Documents kept in individual parts of the personal files contain personal data, so it is very important to store them properly to prevent access by unauthorized persons. It’s not very different from setting up an accounting office and keeping documents secure. Personal files should also be numbered and arranged in chronological order. The employer keeps duplicates submitted by the employee.
Responsibility of the HR specialist
If you decide to work in the HR department, you need to be aware of what your responsibilities will be.
From time to time, an inspection may be carried out in the company organized by the State Labour Inspectorate. If any irregularities become apparent during this inspection, the employer will bear full responsibility for them.
The HR department handles an employee’s failure to fulfil duties and damage caused by their actions.
For example, if you, as an HR representative, make a mistake when calculating the salary of an employee, your employer could be accused of trespassing against the rights of workers. You will be liable to your employer.
The head of HR department in a company has three main responsibilities:
- Official – it can be carried out in case of not meeting the deadline for payment of remuneration or failure to keep personal files. It may be associated, for example, with the withholding of a discretionary bonus.
- Order – it refers to non-compliance with the organization and order in a work process, health and safety regulations, fire regulations, or working time.
- Material – an HR specialist may receive an admonition, reprimand and even a financial penalty. Financial liability is imposed on the staff member in case of need to redress the damage caused by his or her action or omission. Compensation for such action covers the actual loss and may amount to a maximum of three months’ salary. In the case of an intentional act even full payment of the amount of the damage should be considered.
However, because of the number of duties and responsibilities, employees of the HR and payroll department can count on attractive salaries and promotion opportunities, similar to what you could expect when working in the accounting office. Although this job requires precision, it gives a lot of opportunities and satisfaction.
How not to make mistakes and protect yourself from liability?
We hope we have not scared you too much with the scope of the HR specialist’s responsibilities.
Currently, HR departments can use many solutions and tools to facilitate their work.
First, you can count on devices and software that simplify work and maintain order in the document database. It is worth having everything that will help to keep order in tones of documents.
IT solutions dedicated to the industry are extremely helpful. There are many HR and payroll programs that will improve a comfort and pace of work – you can find them below.
They will help you minimize the risk of making mistakes and take care of the responsibilities of a human resources department.