The workplace has greatly shifted in the last year to accommodate the new way of doing business. Most of these changes are related to workplace safety measures as well as state-level paid leave requirements. With this in mind, most employers need to review their employee handbooks to ensure they are up-to-date on all policies and laws at the local, state, and federal levels.
Getting your legal counsel and Human Resource department to review your employee handbook annually is one of the best ways to stay compliant. We encourage employers to take proactive measures when dealing with employee welfare instead of taking a reactive stance.
With the recent pandemic still in play, some of the topics that should be reviewed include; remote-work policies, COVID-19 vaccination requirements, testing and rules, and accommodation requests. Due to the numerous changes effected by the recent pandemic, employers should also consider reviewing their policies on sick leave and paid-time-off. This way, they can come up with appropriate rules based on the current working conditions.
In recent months, various lobby groups have petitioned for new laws governing paid leave at the federal level (read more here —> https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/03/still-no-paid-leave-for-us-workers.html). With congress still holding deliberation, employers will have to re-review their employee handbooks if the laws are enacted.
Below are a few factors employers need to focus on when reviewing/revising their employee handbook:
Wage and Hour Changes
Employers should be on the lookout for new wage and hour rates as various states are currently working on legislation to address overtime and minimum wage regulations, most of which align with federal law. One of the best examples in Pennsylvania, which is adopting the Fair Labor Standards Act while dropping its white-collar exemptions to overtime pay rules. On that note, 25 other states are looking to raise their minimum wage rate, with most of them already having taken effect on the 1st of January.
The pandemic saw most companies shift their mode of operation to accommodate remote employees. Some employers were forced to adopt hybrid workforce models, with some employees requesting full-time remote work due to significant changes in their day-to-day personal lives. However, even as companies look to centralize their workforce, they need to prepare for more remote employee services and requests. In this case, businesses need to create documentation detailing the role of each employee, explaining why some positions need the physical presence of the employee, and those where the employees request to work remotely can be considered. Employers should also address employee workplace safety for continued remote operation. The documentation should be clear, unbiased, and objective with a touch on workplace privacy, working from home requirements, and the application of electronic systems.
COVID-19 Safety Policies
The recent pandemic has been a cause for concern in various jurisdictions. This means employers need to take laws and regulations related to the pandemic seriously, especially when it comes to workplace safety. Employers need to develop policies that comply with all new laws in place, while not compromising their business longevity. They should also educate the workforce on various safety measures within the work environment while taking into account employee diversity.
Need Support With Your Employee Handbook?
Allow Tammy at Klein HR Solutions to assist your business in updating its’ current employee handbook to ensure compliance.
Contact Klein HR Solutions:
Call (305) 775-5640 or e-mail: [email protected]