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Employee Handbook Best Practices


The new year has arrived and whether you are a small or large employer, it is essential for your company to have a guide for your employees that will help them understand the company, its codes of conduct and other important information regarding their employment/benefits. Here are 5 tips for creating or updating your employee handbook:



1. Stay Compliant with Federal, State, and Local Laws

It is a lawsuit waiting to happen if your employee handbook policies are inaccurate or don’t comply with the law. It is highly advised to connect with a legal partner or to stay current with the always-updating regulations, especially if your business has employees in different states/cities.

2. Include These Important Policies

Some policies that are strongly recommended:

-At-will employee to employer relationship statement

EEO policies with zero tolerance for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation

Wage and hour policies (i.e., timekeeping, meal periods and rest breaks, overtime, etc.)

-Paid sick leave and paid time off

Policies you can leave out:

-Job descriptions

-Policies that conflict with contractual or legal commitments

-Policies limiting employer flexibility and discretion

3. Update Your Employee Handbook Annually/When New Laws Take Effect

Trends are always changing. To comply with the most recent federal, state, and local laws, a yearly update of your employee handbook is advised. EEO, for example, is an area of the handbook that is always changing. If a new law takes effect mid-year, an employer should notify employees of the policy change immediately, then include it in an update of the handbook for the upcoming year.

4. Use Your Handbook as a Communication Tool and Keep It Accessible

Your employee handbook should be a guide to your employees. Use it as a reference point in conversation whenever there is something that is not clearly understood.

In light of the current pandemic, we are working through, it is also recommended to review your existing handbook to make sure it addresses what your company’s emergency responses are to several different scenario including but not limited to COVID-19 exposures, emergency sick leave and even work from home accommodations.

Additionally, keeping it accessible is also important. These days, it is recommended that your handbook also be accessible online for easy access.

5. Make it Approachable 

Handbooks tend to be a bit cold, but this can be easily avoided by adding some of the company’s personality, so it is more approachable- especially for new hires. Include a little bit about your company’s history, mission statements, vision, values and how an employee’s impact contributes to the company’s success.

More so than ever the handbook needs to be a living document that gets updated consistently as company culture and legislation changes- especially around the health and safety of employees.

Interested to know more about employee handbooks? Payroll Systems can help make this easier for you. Contact us today for more information!

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This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal or HR advice. Since employment laws may change over time and can vary by location and industry, please consult a lawyer or HR expert for advice specific to your business. You can also contact Payroll Systems to inquire about our HR support services.