“Do I really need an employee handbook?” Although there’s no state or federal law that requires you to have one, creating an handbook can protect both you and your business.
Why? Well, you do have a legal responsibility to inform your workers of their rights, responsibilities, and workplace expectations. And there’s no better place for that than an employee handbook.
A thorough handbook will also limit your liability and reduce misunderstandings at work (which could lead to costly legal conflicts if left unchecked).
If you’re a small business employer with an employee handbook, great -you’re already ahead of the game. Now that you’ve invested in the time and professional resources to create a well-written handbook, you’ll want to review it regularly.
Have there been any new legal updates to local, state, and federal employment laws? If you don’t have an onsite HR Manager to keep your employee handbook up- to-date, working with an experienced HR Consultant might be the best solution to help keep your business in compliance.
Since January 1, 2021, more than 80 new employment laws have been implemented across several states from coast to coast. In 2020, nearly 250 new employment laws were implemented across the United States.
Why does this matter? Because your employee handbook needs to reflect these changes.
Review the changes for your state, if any, and arrange to revise, update, or add the policy (or policies) to your employee handbook.
1.) Does your handbook say, “The Company “reserves the right to change the policy (or policies) in the employee handbook at any time”? If not, add it, and whenever you make changes, put that in writing.
2.) Every handbook must have an at-will employment disclaimer; this means that the employer or the employee may terminate employment at any time, with or without cause or prior notice.
3.) Disciplinary action policies should include a disclaimer that the company reserves the right to skip one or more steps depending on the severity of the offense or conduct.
4.) A disclaimer that the handbook cannot address every scenario that could potentially arise in the workplace. This clause gives the employer the flexibility necessary to handle unique situations on a case-by-case basis.
• Harassment Prevention Policy
• Drug Free Workplace
• Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Statement
• Clear Time Off Policies & Procedures (Do you offer time off to vote? Bereavement? Domestic violence or stalking?)
• An employee handbook acknowledgment and receipt form should be signed by new hires and all employees each time the handbook is updated
Small changes make a huge difference. Make these alterations to your employee handbook, and both you and your employees will reap the rewards.
Written by Valerie Battles – HR Consultant at be the change HR