The Employee Handbook is an important tool within an organization’s human resources function.
Not only does a well-written handbook outline important company policies and practices, but it also serves to welcome new employees to the workplace culture of an organization.
It also helps employees and managers understand and adhere to organizational practices, and provides a foundation for navigating employee performance issues.
Yet as important as the Employee Handbook is to an organization’s foundation, many employers simply don’t update it often enough.
Updating Your Employee Handbook: How Often is Enough?
The XpanseHR team recommends employers review and update their Employee Handbook every six months, or as company policies and employment laws and regulations change.
Likewise, employers should distribute their handbook to employees on an annual basis and require employees to sign off indicating that they have read and understood its contents.
Important Employee Handbook Updates to Make in 2022
For employers looking to review and update their Employee Handbook in 2022, here are four key areas that the XpanseHR team recommends checking:
1. COVID-19 Policies
From the early days of mask-wearing and social distancing, to reasonable accommodations and paid sick leave, to vaccination requirements and more, COVID-19 has consistently changed the rules of the workplace.
As a result, employers have been constantly recreating and adapting their employment and workplace policies over the past three years. As employers look to update their handbook in 2022, they should pay careful attention to any COVID-related workplace policies they currently have and ensure that they are up-to-date with the most current guidance, such as the CDC’s evolving masking guidance.
2. Remote Work Policies
As more and more employers embrace flexible schedules, whether remote or hybrid, the policies around privacy, telework, employee use of technology, and more, have changed.
Employers offering remote work opportunities should make sure that they clearly outline in their handbook which positions can be remote and which require a physical presence.
In addition, a remote work policy should include the expectations of work, time-tracking and overtime processes, equipment policies, technical support information, and security and data policies.
3. State-Specific Policies
With more companies offering remote work, the need to hire employees within a certain physical footprint is decreasing. Employers can now hire individuals from different cities, states, and even countries.
Employers hiring remote workers should review and update their handbook to ensure that it correctly reflects individual state and local employment laws, which are constantly evolving.
As of January 2022, for instance, multiple states have enacted their own paid leave legislation, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.
4. Wage and Hour Policies
As state minimum wages rise across the country, employers should update their handbook as needed with relevant wage information. Employers also need to be mindful of evolving state-specific FLSA and Overtime rules and thresholds.
For instance, Pennsylvania has dropped its rule that would have increased the salary threshold for exempt employees to $45,500 in October of 2022, and has reverted to the FLSA’s white-collar exemption criteria.
Similarly, Virginia, who signed into law the Virginia State Overtime Act, is currently seeking to overturn the law and once again adopt the FLSA overtime requirements.
Need Help Updating Your Employee Handbook?
XpanseHR’s team of HR professionals helps organizations build and review comprehensive employee handbooks that meet the unique needs of their organization. To learn how XpanseHR can help, contact Jim Jeffers at 610-614-5500 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.