Employee handbooks are important to employers of all sizes.
- They introduce employees to a business’ culture, mission, and values
- They help employees understand what is expected of them
- They help ensure that all company policies are clearly and consistently communicated
- They explain all benefits employees receive and how to qualify for those benefits
- They help communicate state and federal workplace regulations
- They help protect employers from costly employee lawsuits
If you’re an employer that already has an employee handbook – well done. The next question is “how often should it be updated?”
Laws related to sick leave, wages, criminal background checks, the hiring of immigrants, drugs in the workplace and more are changing all the time, and each of these changes needs to be communicated with your workforce.
Do these changes in the law require an immediate revision of a company’s employee handbook?
No. In many cases, changes in law, regulation or company policies can be shared in memo form initially. But the rapid pace of change does make an annual review of your handbook a virtual imperative.
A couple of things to consider:
- Any changes in law, regulations or policy should be shared in writing with the expectation that each employee will read and acknowledge receipt by signing a statement to that effect.
- Providing employee handbooks in digital form is also a good idea. They permit easy access to vital information and allow for rapid updates and revisions.
Does Republican control of the White House and the Congress mean employers can expect fewer changes in federal labor and employment laws and regulations in the years to come?
There is some expectation that employers can expect advantageous revisions in a variety of laws and regulations in the next few years – many of which may require employee notification. And there is always the Connecticut Legislature to consider.
Give your employee handbook an annual audit to make sure it is current and covers essential topics clearly. And if the Congress or the Connecticut Legislature have busy years – consider mid-year reviews as well.
Employee Handbooks are vital documents in any business. They not only protect the rights of all parties – but written well, they can express a lot about the culture of your company and as a result, serve as a recruitment tool for new employees.
If you are an employer in Connecticut and need assistance crafting an employee handbook or want someone to carefully review an existing handbook, contact the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. Each of us has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of employment law and labor law and can help you with this complicated topic. Please contact us if we can help you.
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