Get a head start on 2021 with updated employee handbooks. – HR Affiliates Blog
Resolve to evaluate, improve employee handbooks for 2021
As 2020 draws to a close, employers should reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and how to improve going forward. COVID-19 and protests for racial justice have shown that we don’t have ultimate control of what happens around us — but, as managers and business owners, we still have to strive to do better for our employees. To that end, remember that employee handbooks are not written in stone for a reason. Regulations, laws, and society change. Your handbooks should change as well.
Employee handbooks serve multiple purposes. Ultimately, however, the goal is that your employees use them, rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf. They should serve not just as the main conduit of information between HR and employees but as protection against possible litigation. So it’s critical that your handbook states your business’s compliance with all regulations and compliance laws.
Important updates to consider
If you haven’t updated your handbooks recently, there’s plenty to get caught up on, including the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of protecting gay and transgender workers from discrimination, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which affects wage and leave policies through the end of the year. The FFCRA is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. The House of Representatives passed an extension in May but the Senate has yet to vote on the bill. Predictions vary, but general consensus suggests that there will be some type of extension. Regardless of the outcome, employers should review related practices and policies, revising as necessary.
As many companies have adopted work-from-home policies in response to COVID-19, it’s important to address what will almost certainly become the new normal, and to codify protocols for engagement, communication, and productivity. For employees ready to return to the office, you’ll want to establish clear policies about their safety in doing so. Additionally, while your company should regularly review its equity, diversity, and inclusion policies, it’s critical to do so this year, with the increased focus on workplace discrimination and social injustice.
Other important topics include:
- Exempt / nonexempt schedules, breaks, and time-tracking.
- Payroll procedures.
- Benefits overview.
- Standards of conduct.
- A progressive discipline policy.
- Security and equipment-usage policies.
- Confidentiality policy.
Remember that the policies in your handbook are there not just to protect your business, they serve your employees as well. For a free consultation on creating a helpful and comprehensive employee handbook, we encourage you to contact us today.