4 employee handbook policies to watch in 2023
There are no rules about how often the handbook should be updated, but given the changing laws, it’s wise to stay vigilant and be proactive.
An updated employee handbook helps employees understand what is expected of them and helps managers ensure that company policies are being followed.
We’ve identified four reasons to revisit your employee handbook in 2023.
New year, new employee handbook? There are no hard and fast rules that require the handbook to be updated at specific intervals. But instead of assuming it lasts until 2023, he has good reason to treat it like a living document.
First, by implementing updated and clear policies that both employees can understand and can be consistently applied by managers, employees feel they are being treated fairly.
Second, having an up-to-date (and well-understood by management) handbook that aligns with current legislation can reduce potential charges against your business. Additionally, if an employee or former employee files a claim, the handbook can provide valuable documentation that your business has implemented fair and compliant workplace policies.
Here are four policies to watch in 2023.
- Personal Appearance/Grooming (CROWN Acts): Employers with dress codes and appearance policies should be aware of the CROWN Acts. These laws are generally to protect race-related characteristics, including natural and protective hairstyles. If you have a policy that prohibits afros, dreadlocks (aka locks), or hair over a certain length, you should reconsider. Even if not subject to laws protecting natural hairstyles, we recommend removing restrictions likely to affect employees of a particular race, gender, or religion for greater inclusiveness. To do.
- EEO (for CROWN act and many other acts): Equal Employment Opportunity policies typically list classes or characteristics that are protected by federal and state law. With several new state-level protections each year, employers (especially those with operations in multiple states) should make sure their EEO policies are up to date.Employee handbooks state that they do not discriminate based on federally protected classes, and it is common to say “any other class protected by state or federal law.” , many employers are unaware of all classes protected by federal and state law. As a result, they may be caught off guard and embroiled in lawsuits. Because they simply didn’t know that the actions they were taking would be considered unlawful discrimination.
Therefore, we recommend that you include a complete list of protected classes in your employee handbook. The more knowledge, the better. Managers also have a duty to ensure that employees do not harass each other based on their inclusion in a protected class. Also, it becomes very difficult to maintain compliance in the workplace if managers are not fully aware of their responsibilities.
- Sick leave policy: State sick leave laws were prevalent before the pandemic, and they haven’t abated. Even if no new legislation is enacted, existing requirements are being expanded to cover more situations. Considering the growing awareness among employees about how the disease spreads and the desire to avoid it, it is important to ensure that employees stay home when sick, even if it is not required by law. We recommend that you reconsider your sick leave policy to encourage
- State family and medical leave: State family leave, paid or unpaid, is steadily being passed. Since these typically interact with FMLA and company-provided benefits, employers should include this in their handbooks so that both managers and employees know when these leave apply. Appropriate.
It makes sense to take steps to ensure that employee handbooks reflect today’s workplace. Your company is not stagnant, and the regulatory environment in which it operates is certainly not static. So, whether you review it annually, semi-annually, or quarterly, be proactive in updating your employee handbook in 2023.