In order to be able to act in accordance with the provisions of the Law, a business entity primarily needs to understand the basic concepts introduced by the Law. The paramount question certainly is – to whom the Law on Archival Material applies?
Namely, the obligation to comply with the regulation applies to all persons who are considered creators of archival material and documentary material, which includes all legal entities, both from the private and public sectors, as well as natural persons performing business activities.
It is important to note that the size of the company and the number of employees do not affect the requirement to comply with these regulations. Thus, even if you have only one employee, you will be subjected to the Law.
Further, every creator should be able to distinguish documentary material from archival material. Documentary material represents all documents, produced by subjects, both in the private and public sectors. The retention periods for keeping such material (which is not necessary to be permanently kept) are determined by the business entity from whose work they arise, applying the retention periods prescribed by special laws.
Archival material represents a specific kind of documentary material. Its particularity reflects in the fact that archival material is made up of documents that have a certain cultural, historical, and general social significance, which must be permanently preserved and submitted to the competent archive for retention, after the expiration of 30 years from the day of its creation.
Therefore, the key is that the archival material is kept permanently, while the documentary material can be released and destroyed after the defined retention period has passed.
As a special form of archival material, the archival material in electronic form is introduced – an archival material originally created in electronic form. Even though the Law has provided the possibility to create and preserve archival material in electronic form, it should be noted that the archival material in electronic form has to be kept in accordance with the regulations governing reliable electronic storage of documents as well.
Thus, if you choose to convert certain documentation to an electronic form, it is necessary to comply with both the Law on Electronic Document and relevant bylaws, i.e., apply a qualified system that guarantees the protection, as digitalization must be done in a way that maintains the authenticity, reliability, integrity, and usability of electronic documents.