Top 5 Employee Handbook Policies to Revisit

employee handbook updates

As we all know, the transition from one calendar year to the next is a time full of legal changes. And if you haven’t even so much as thought about your employee handbook over the past year, now’s probably a good time to bust it out for review.

We recommend for every business to consider providing or updating their company employee handbooks on at least a yearly basis. So as we head into 2019, take a minute to re-read these 5 policies in your own handbook. There may be an update you didn’t even know you needed!

1. Employment Classifications

Over the past few years, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has drastically increased its compliance enforcement efforts. As a result, it is imperative for employers to understand how to initiate proper assessment in various areas of wage and hour laws. This means being able to distinguish employees vs. independent contractors, exempt vs. non-exempt, full-time vs. part-time, etc.

Stay compliant by making sure your classifications are clear and accurate. If you need to, conduct a mini-audit of your employees. You can always reach out to our team at SDP or log in to the HR Support Center if you get stuck!

2. Health & Safety

Another area of DOL attention involves safe and productive workplace environments. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires covered employers to maintain a workplace that is free of hazards. Having specific policies (and items like a safety binder!) in place is a key part of that process.

Top Tip: Think OSHA doesn’t apply to your industry? Chances are, it does! That’s why we’ve put together OSHA Compliance Solutions in a Box. Still unsure of your requirements? Give us a call at (866) 946-2032 to find out exactly what you need.

3. Social Media

With the increasing use of social media and technology in the workplace (hello, iPhone XR!), it’s important to remain mindful of how your employees’ actions online will affect you. As we all know by now, posts and comments can have a huge impact on your business. Plus, in today’s world of “rage tweeting” and lengthy “Facebook rants”, it’s easier than ever for social media use to quickly cross into the grey area of confidentiality and privacy concerns.

The moral of the story is, having a sound social media policy in place is key. Use your policy to pinpoint the appropriate times and purposes for social media use at work, as well as any code of conduct expectations.

4. Telecommuting

Remote workers, digital nomads, freelancers… This up and coming generation of workers values different things in a job, one being flexibility. Further, 74% of older Americans say they want flexibility as well, with telecommuting being the perfect option to keep older generations in the workforce.

If this is a section of your employee handbook that hasn’t been touched in a long time, 2019 may be the year to re-address it. After all, telemarketing can be used as an important recruitment and retention tool, and it doesn’t cost you a dime!

5. Benefits

Whether you’re trying to stay on top of health care reform laws, apply family medical leave updates, or provide vacation and sick leave time-off, it’s vital to ensure your benefits-related policies remain current.

Top Tip: Keep it simple! In your employee handbook, specify the types of benefits offered, but avoid the nitty-gritty. We recommend having a separate Benefits Guide for employees with granular information. (Costs, open enrollment information, types of plans, eligibility, etc.)

It’s far easier to distribute a new Benefits Guide each year than to update and redistribute the entire employee handbook. Plus, we don’t think anyone needs an extra 100 pages in their employee handbook…

What do you think?

Is it time to dust off some of these policies in your company’s employee handbook? To make sure your handbook stays current, try to conduct a thorough review on an annual basis (at least!). To make the process just a little bit easier, we’ve given you access to all sorts of pre-made handbook policies in our HR Support Center, ready for you to customize.

Want something a little more hands on? Ask us about our HR upgrade options for 24/7 access to our team of licensed HR pros or a complete compliance audit to set you up for success. And don’t forget to check us out on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for even more HR tips & tricks!

Photo by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

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