According to information highlighted by Paycor, employee handbooks have many benefits; they:
- Familiarize employees with your culture, mission, and values.
- Set clear guidelines regarding what you will expect from your employees.
- Tell your employees what they can expect from their leadership and managers.
- Clearly state your organization’s important policies.
- Highlight the benefits your organization offers.
- Ensure compliance with federal and state laws.
- Safeguard your organization from lawsuits and claims filed by employees.
- Inform employees where they can go when they need help or support.
And in 2019, it will be even more important to update your employee handbooks if you want them to continue to provide those benefits highlighted above because many new and amended employment-related laws took effect in 27 states and several key municipalities in 2018.
Here are five things you’ll want to make sure your employee handbooks have in them in 2019.
1. EEO, Reasonable Accommodations, Equal Pay Policies
Many updates have been made to laws regarding discrimination against applicants and existing employees due to their race, gender, and sexual orientation. And more importantly, they protect individuals from retaliation when they file instances of harassment.
Requirements for “reasonable accommodations” for individuals who have been assaulted or are victims of domestic or sexual abuse and violence have been updated, as well as those for women who are pregnant or who are breastfeeding.
Now, updated laws prohibit wage discrimination based on one’s gender or previous pay and allow employees to discuss their current pay among each other.
2. Sexual Harassment Policies
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, some states (including New York) and other entities are requiring that employers have a detailed sexual harassment policy on file that is shared with employees, especially when updates are made. And such harassment policies have a lot of new and detailed requirements that must be followed, as well.
3. Family Leave and Other Leaves of Absence
Some employers will now be required to offer paid family leave, pregnancy and childbirth leave, extended sick leave, reinstatement rights for individuals in the military, and paid leave to victims of domestic violence.
4. Smoke-Free Workplace
Many states are now including e-cigarettes and tobacco substitutes in their no-smoking policies. And many employers will be required to post notices about their updated no-smoking policies, as well as designate smoking areas for their employees and visitors.
5. Weapons in and Around the Workplace
Due to the uptick in mass shootings in recent years, many employers are expanding their policies regarding weapons in and around the workplace. Employers will need to consider updating their policies regarding weapons in employees’ cars in parking lots, as well as concealed-and-carried weapons.
Be sure to include the five things outlined above in your employee handbook in 2019 if you want to ensure that it remains valuable.