Time to Update Your Employee Handbook

If you haven’t looked at your employee handbook for a while, it may be time to dust it off and give it an update.  Recent rulings by the NLRB have impacted the wording that should be used for policies such as Employment-at-Will, Data Protection, and Social Media. The verbiage of a non-harassment policy should include new language explaining bullying , giving examples, and proscribing the consequences of such behavior. There should be a policy forbidding retaliation, and a procedure for employees to use in reporting harassment, bullying, retaliation, and discrimination.

As of December 1, 2016, there will be new rules to follow under the revised FLSA. Large numbers of employees who have been paid as exempt employees on salary will no longer meet the minimum salary test and will have to start keeping track of their time. This requires an update to the employee manual. Employers must tackle the question of how to control the overtime that may occur when these formerly exempt employees continue to check their emails and voice mails from home or on vacation or illness. What was routine and expected of exempt employees will become hours worked for the non-exempt.

At a minimum, the following policies should be reviewed and updated as needed:

  • Employment-at-Will (new language required)
  • “Not a Contract” Disclaimer
  • Expected Conduct
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Electronic Data Policy
  • Harassment and Bullying and Retaliation
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Time off from Work (if you have a current policy that has different paid time off for exempt vs non-exempt, you will have to decide what to do with employees who will be changing from exempt to non-exempt)
  • Social Media and Blogging Policy
  • Employee Timekeeping Requirements
  • Safe Harbor language for improper payroll deductions
  • Texting while driving (All employers should forbid texting while driving on company business)
  • Handbook Acknowledgment