An employee handbook is an essential tool that provides important information about your company to employees. Handbooks typically define what you expect of your employees and what your employees should expect from you. As legal developments affecting the workplace take effect, employers and HR should ensure that their employee handbooks are compliant and current. It is a good practice to regularly review and update the handbook and for many employers it makes sense to do this annually. Failure to regularly update and redistribute the employee handbook makes it essentially useless, and it can prove to be a liability and end up costing the employer money if it demonstrates non-compliance during an investigation or lawsuit.
Whenever changes are made to the handbook and it is redistributed to employees, employees should be asked to sign another acknowledgment of receipt. The acknowledgment of receipt for each updated version of the handbook should be kept on file, as evidence, in the event of a dispute, that employees were made aware of any changes to the handbook.
For employers in New York State 2021 brings about changes that require updates to the employee handbook. The most important change is regarding the recently enacted New York Paid Sick Leave Law. Handbooks must be updated to ensure that their PTO and/or sick leave policies are compliant with the new law. Employers with employees in New York City must also update their Safe and Sick Leave policy as some changes were made aligning the existing safe and sick leave policy with the NYS law. Additionally, as COVID-19 is still around, companies may also want to formally add their telecommuting/remote work policy as well as their safety plan to their handbook. The NYS Paid Family Leave also requires updating as the leave will now provide 12 weeks of leave at 67% of the employee’s average weekly wage (not to exceed 67% of the NYS average weekly wage).
PMP can assist you with the updating of your employee handbook. Please reach out to one of our HR professionals at 516-921-3400 for more assistance.