An employee handbook is a powerful tool to communicate your organization’s policies and practices, as well as its values, culture, and vision. It can also form the first line of defense in an employment lawsuit or investigation. Even if you don’t need to update your employee handbook because of new laws or changes to company policy, it doesn’t hurt to review it occasionally for clarity and tone. Many employers are working off a template they found online, perhaps many, many years ago. These old templates are often packed with legalese and stuffy language and are due for a facelift.
While your employee handbook should receive a regularly-scheduled review to ensure compliance with state and federal law, there are some events that may require additional policies or updates to be added to your employee handbook sooner than your next scheduled update. Most notably, many state and federal employment laws only become applicable to an employer once it reaches a certain size, such as five, 15, 25 or 50 employees. If your organization is growing, be aware of any new obligations that may be on the horizon as your employee count increases. Hiring an employee who will work outside of the state where your headquarters are located should also trigger a handbook review.
Reasons to Immediately Review Your Handbook
- Hiring employees from out of state
- Significant changes to employee count, such as increasing to more than 15 or 50 employees or decreasing to below 15 or 50 employees
- Changes in federal, state, or municipal laws, such as paid sick leave or sexual harassment prevention
- Merger or acquisition of a new company
- Adoption of a new internal policy, such as unlimited PTO or a Bereavement Leave
- Changes in current policies, such as additional requirements for expense reimbursement or modifications of vacation accrual
- Adjustments in benefit offerings, such as adding the addition of tuition reimbursement or the adoption of a telecommuting policy
- Transitions in management that may affect the complaint procedure policy
- Changes in benefits discussed in the handbook, such a medical, dental, or life insurance
If you’ve got the time and inclination (or someone on staff who does), you can really polish up your handbook and make it reflect who you are as an organization. But even if you’re relatively low on time, you can start updating policies to make your handbook sound more like it belongs in 2019. You can update your master copy of the handbook throughout the year as you have time and unveil all the freshened-up policies at once whenever you’re ready to release a new version to employees.
GTM works with you to create an employee handbook that is compliant with state and federal laws. Our depth of knowledge in workplace policies and best practices ensures that the employees’ and employers’ needs are taken into account and will give the employer peace of mind.
Are you doing payroll in-house or through an accountant? No problem! Our Employee Handbook service can be purchased separately from our payroll services.
Request more information to learn how GTM can help you build and customize a comprehensive employee handbook tailored to your organization.