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HR Insights with Ali: Top 4 Reasons Your Employee Handbook May Need an Update

Posted on 12/6/2016 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
It is recommended that you update your employee handbook every year. However, this recommendation is the minimum, and I advise that your handbooks be updated immediately as laws change. Due to a recent number of law changes affecting employers and their employees, your handbook may need to be updated immediately.

Here is a list of the top 4 reasons that your employee handbook may need an immediate update:

  1. Sexual harassment and other frequently-changing federal policies
    Sexual harassment policies are changed at the federal level, and can have quite an impact upon your practice. The same can be said for NLRB compliance in a number of areas, which are also subject to frequent modification nationwide.

  2. Sick leave policies
    A number of states and cities around the country are updating their sick leave policies. Due to the complexities of these regulations, you should educate yourself on the sick leave requirements in your state and ensure that your sick leave policy meets each of those requirements.

  3. New smoking laws
    Some states, such as California, have been implementing new smoking laws. For example, as of June 2016, smoking is now 100% prohibited in California on non-hospitality work premises, including e-cigarettes. If your handbook contains a smoking policy which is affected by an applicable law but has not been updated to match the law, these changes should be made right away.

  4. Meal and rest breaks
    The law is clear as to the amount of time employees must be given for meal and rest breaks, as well as where those breaks can take place and whether employees may/must work during those times. These regulations vary by state, so it’s important to be aware of your state’s requirements. If you are located in a state that requires meal and rest breaks, your handbook should clearly list these policies, in order to avoid disputes.

If you have any questions about your handbook or wish to have it updated, you should seek advice from legal counsel or an HR expert.

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