How should a multistate employer structure an employee handbook?
Author: XpertHR Editorial Team
Multistate employers may choose one of the following potential strategies when creating an employee handbook:
- Adopt uniform policies across all states, which requires providing the greatest benefits to all employees. Although this may create a situation where some employees receive more benefits than legally required, it also eases administrative burdens, improves employee morale and creates a more cohesive organizational culture.
- Use one general handbook and manage state differences by providing state supplements or addendums to capture applicable state and/or local policies. This method helps to capture variances in state and local law and bring them to the attention of employees. It also captures specific notifications that may be required by state and local law.
- Create a very general handbook. For example, in the case of state counterparts to a federal law, such as family and medical leave laws, employers may generally assert that family and medical leave will be granted in accordance with the requirements of applicable state and federal law in effect at the time the leave is granted and specify:
No greater or lesser leave benefits will be granted than those set forth in the relevant state or federal laws. In certain situations, the federal law requires that provisions of state law apply. In any case, employees will be eligible for the most generous benefits available under either law.
However, this option will not be available if the employer operates in a state that imposes specific notification requirements unless the multistate employer also includes a limited state-specific policy with the required notifications.