News & Press: Industry News

Employee handbook updates for 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Erin King
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Have you updated your employee handbook for 2017? The CSSA offers members a customizable employee handbook for a small one-time fee. The template, licensed to the association via The CA Employers Association, is specific to the state of CA and is available in formats for both small (1-25) and large employers (25+) Members who purchase the template and maintain their membership are offered a copy of the updated template each year at no additional charge. Visit the store section of our website today to learn more.

Most companies provide their staff with an employee handbook. There are many benefits to doing so, however, not all employee handbooks are created equal. Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment solutions expert says, “An employee handbook is a great way to communicate your company’s overall plans, practices and policies. From a legal standpoint, it offers a layer of protection to the employers as it proves that the employee was given pertinent information relating to their employment and job performance. It’s also a good way to communicate with employees and remove unnecessary confusion and false assumptions from the workplace.”

Today’s employee handbook should look a bit different than the handbooks of the past. “Employers need to review and edit their handbooks at least once a year,” says Wilson, “and with so many changes in employment law, it’s probably time for most employers to take a hard look at their current handbooks. It is likely that many items will need to be edited or removed.”

Wilson provides the following tips for creating or updating an employee handbook in 2017:

1.     Changes to EEO policy: “Your policy probably already states the discrimination against employees based on age, race, or nation of origin is not permitted, but today’s handbook needs to make clear that discrimination against people who are transsexual, bisexual, asexual, intersex, etc. is not permitted. A simple ‘Discrimination based on an employee’s gender/sexual orientation is prohibited’ will suffice.”

2.     Edits to substance abuse policies: Many states have now made marijuana use legal, either for medical use or recreational use. However, it is still illegal on the federal level, so your employee policy can simply state that no illegal drugs are allowed. You may also include information on your drug testing policy. For instance, if you do random drug testing, what levels of marijuana would be considered a termination-worthy offense?”

3.     Changes to dress code: “Your dress code needs to be gender non-specific. For example, instead of saying ‘Women’s skirts must be knee-length” or “ Women may not wear dark nail polish,” the handbook should say, “Skirts must be at knee-length” and “ No dark nail polish.”

4.     Social media use: “In today’s world, most employees have some sort of social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or all three. They might also be regular users of sites like Reddit. What rules are in place regarding what your employees can post online about your company and clients? What policies are in place to monitor employee’s cyber behavior? These are issues that need to be addressed and clearly laid out for employees in the handbook.”

Source: Employco USA, Via The CAECA Employers report (The California Employers Association)