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Spring Cleaning: A Perfect Time to Refresh Your Employee Handbook

CATEGORY: Blog Posts
CLIENT TYPE: Public Employers
AUTHOR: Dana L. Burch
PUBLICATION: California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog
DATE: Apr 11, 2023

Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition that many people use to refresh and reorganize their homes and workplaces.  For employers, it is also a great opportunity to revisit and update your employee handbooks.  Maybe you had the best intentions of revamping your employee handbook at year end but the holidays came and went and your employee handbook is still on your to do list.  Don’t worry!  It’s not too late!  Spring cleaning is an ideal time to freshen up your employee handbook.

An employee handbook is a document that outlines an organization’s policies, procedures, and expectations for its employees. It’s an important tool for communicating with and educating employees about their rights and responsibilities. However, as laws and regulations change, and as your agency’s needs evolve, it’s important to regularly review and update it.

Here are some tips for employers on how to update employee handbooks as part of your spring cleaning:

  • Compliance with laws and regulations: You should ensure that your handbooks are in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. This includes, for example, updating handbooks to reflect changes in labor and employment laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Agency policies and procedures: Review your existing policies and procedures to make sure they are still relevant and appropriate. You should also consider adding new policies and procedures as needed, such as a policy on remote work or an updated procedure for reporting harassment or discrimination.
  • Employee benefits: Review your employee benefits and make sure that the information in the handbook is accurate and up-to-date.  This is also a good time to consider making changes to benefits as needed, such as adding new options or increasing contributions.
  • Address any changes in the workplace: You should also review your employee handbooks to ensure they address any changes in the workplace, such as new technologies or remote work policies. This can include updating policies on the use of employer-provided equipment and software, as well as outlining the particular procedures for working remotely.
  • Ensure consistency: You should review your employee handbooks to ensure consistency across all policies and procedures – including any applicable MOUs. This includes ensuring that the language used is consistent and that the formatting is clear and easy to understand.
  • Communicate the changes: Once the employee handbook has been updated, you should communicate the changes to all employees.  This can be done through an agency-wide meeting, through an email, or through an intranet or employee portal.  You should also provide employees with the updated handbook and have them sign an acknowledgement form indicating that they have read and understand the new policies.
  • Regularly review: Lastly, you should make it a practice regularly to review and update your employee handbooks.  This can be done on a yearly basis as part of your annual Spring cleaning or as needed, depending on the organization and the changes in the workplace.

By regularly reviewing and updating your employee handbooks, you can ensure that your policies and procedures are current, that they are in compliance with laws and regulations, and that they are communicating effectively with employees.  This not only helps to protect your agency, as well as its employees, but also creates a more positive and productive work environment for everyone.

If your employee handbook needs a spring-time refresh, trusted legal counsel can help!  Also, our Liebert Library has updated model policies available to help with review and update of handbooks.

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