Overview: It is important for employers to develop and institute a comprehensive set of HR policies and procedures to guide the conduct of both employees and supervisors in the workplace and protect both employers and employees. Standard policies and procedures also ensure that similar situations are dealt with in a consistent manner and the employer's business runs efficiently. The workplace policies and procedures should be memorialized and may be provided in the employee handbook or other document given to employees and/or supervisors.
An employer may want to develop different HR policies and procedures for different groups of employees depending on the department that they work in, whether or not the employee is part of a union, and whether or not the employee is an exempt or non-exempt employee. Workplace policies and procedures may cover such varied topics as discrimination and harassment, social media use, employee benefits, compensation, employee discipline, affirmative action, FMLA and employee leave. While workplace rules provide employees with standards of conduct that must be followed, policies and procedures are usually more formal and provide supervisors and management with a standard manner of handling frequent situations. Workplace policies and procedures should also carefully lay out the consequences and discipline that employees and supervisors may be subject to for violating a workplace policy.
Trends: Employers should be aware that changes in society, technology and the law may require employers to revise existing policies and create new ones. We live in a society in which our technology and the way we connect with others in changing rapidly. As a result, employers must constantly revisit their policies with respect to electronic communications and social media use. Employment policies on employee benefits and compensation also may need to be frequently updated based on changes in the law. Further, based on the fact that the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act significantly expanded the definition of an individual with a qualified disability, workplace policies regarding managing employees with disabilities should also be reviewed and revised on a frequently basis.
Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
California employers seeking to educate employees about the availability of paid sick and safe time and to show their compliance with California's Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
California amended the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act to clarify provisions of the newly enacted paid sick and safe time law.
The new and updated statements reflect recent legal developments in several states, including Connecticut, Oregon and Rhode Island.
Connecticut employers seeking to emphasize compliance with, and educate their workforces about this law, should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Oregon employers with enclosed workplace areas seeking to inform employees that smoking is prohibited in the workplace and to demonstrate compliance with Oregon law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
North Dakota employers that provide paid vacation or paid time off (PTO) and seek to indicate that North Dakota employees will receive pay for accrued but unused vacation or PTO upon termination of employment should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Nebraska employers should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
North Dakota employers that employ one or more employees for more than one-quarter of the year should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Rhode Island employers should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Rhode Island covered employers seeking to educate employees about the availability of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including the need to express breast milk for a nursing child and to demonstrate compliance with Rhode Island law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Guidance on creating and implementing HR policies that provide employees and supervisors standards and procedures with which they should comply.