April 25, 2022, by HR Search & Rescue What Is An Employee Handbook? Employee handbooks are manuals that establish an organization’s rules and regulations. They also function as instructive guides for new employees ready to learn about the company’s workplace culture and policies. What Things Successful Employee Handbook Guidelines Should Cover A successful employee handbook should always cover the following objectives: 1. Health & Safety – Covid-19 Guidelines Employers and managers have instituted new work policies that address masks, social distancing, vaccination, and other safety measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the workplace. Some of those work policies are company-specific. Others are a result of federal and local governments enforcing new or specific laws designed to halt the spread of the virus. These laws often mandate that a certain percentage of employees must be vaccinated in order for the company to continue operations. In addition to these new pandemic-related rules, businesses should still have clear guidelines for the general health and safety of their employees. For example, consider including policies that address safe access to work, the use of safety equipment, protection from injury, and other on-the-job risks. 2. Rules & Guidelines For Vacations & Holidays In some U.S. states, employers are mandated to provide paid vacation time to their employees. Many localities require that all unpaid and accrued vacation time be designated as earned wages, payable to the employee at the conclusion of their employment. It is worth noting that many of these regulations apply to employers regardless of their office location. In the current phase of remote working, businesses should consult with an employment attorney to ensure that the employee handbook complies with all federal, state, and local regulations. 3. Leave Policy Employee leave-taking procedures must be included in an employee handbook policies. Make sure your handbook details how to request leave, as well as under what conditions leave may be requested. For example Sick days Maternity leaves Medical leaves Casual leaves Paternity leaves Annual leaves Some states require employers to supplement paid sick leave for a number of weeks after suspension or termination of a federally declared public health emergency. The U.S. government has extended a nationwide Covid public health emergency through April 2022 or until renewed. 4. Anti-Discrimination And Sexual Harassment Policies Employee handbooks must express, in no uncertain terms, that the company does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. It is best to highlight and define what constitutes an incident of harassment or discrimination, while also explaining procedures for identifying and reporting those incidents. Make clear who employees should talk to at the company to address their concerns. According to an EEOC study, the number of discrimination charges filed in 2022 was recorded at 67,448 cases, an all-time low. Local, state and federal regulations prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees based on the following characteristics: Race Gender Sexuality Age Religion Some states require companies to address discrimination in their policy book. Regardless of how strict or lenient your local anti-discrimination laws may be, it is always a best practice to include a detailed set of anti-discrimination policies. 5. Disciplinary Guidelines Every organization should implement a disciplinary process that discourages unproductive, unacceptable, and harmful employee behavior. Handbooks define the types of employee misconduct and their consequences. Management shohttps://hrsearchandrescue.com/understanding-discipline-in-the-workplace-as-an-employee/uld incorporate a flexible approach that can meet the needs of individual employee concerns. Make careful and selective use of language so that employees understand the process and are not in constant fear of wrongful punishment. Never limit the scope of what is defined as “misconduct” to what is listed in the handbook. Your organization should make an effort to update their disciplinary guidelines with new scenarios as they arise. Add a disclaimer to ensure that employees understand there may be consequences for any other inappropriate workplace or work-related conduct. 6. Problem Solving Procedures Your employee handbook policies should describe a detailed problem-resolution process. Highlight the procedures that employees must follow to report an internal complaint, grievance, or other workplace issues. Coherent, straightforward guidelines are key to solving most employee and workplace issues, while also protecting employee rights. Rules that are clear-cut convey a positive message to all workers, which can motivate them and allow them to feel like their employer is looking out for them. They also demonstrate that the company stands with their employees, works for their betterment, and takes all employee concerns seriously. 7. Bullying In The Workplace What Is Workplace Bullying? Workplace bullying typically involves unreasonable and repeated acts of harm toward other employees or peers. This can happen regardless of an employee’s job title or seniority. Employees, as well as supervisors and managers, are all potential targets of workplace bullying. An employee handbook must outline that the company views all forms of bullying as unacceptable. Workplace bullying is a risk to employee health, in particular mental health, and must be addressed. A recent survey brought to light the fact that 43% of remote and virtual employees experience workplace bullying. 67% have a chance of losing their job as a result of workplace bullying. Perhaps more unsettling is the fact that 4 out of every 10 professionals report that they have experienced bullying in the workplace. Many employers use incentives to prevent bullying in the first place. In a nutshell, the company’s employee handbook should address abusive behavior with proper examples, helping employees understand professional and acceptable behavior. Bottom Line An employee handbook isn’t just a helpful reference document. It communicates to your employees what defines the company culture and values. When employees understand what is expected of them, they become more efficient. For more information on employee handbook policies, contact the experts at HR Search and Rescue online or over the phone at (844) 934-3743.