Why Having an Employee Handbook is Important?
Employee Handbook is also known as an employee manual, staff handbook, or company policy manual.
It is a document which defines a company’s key policies and procedures and outlines its company culture.
The employee handbook can be used to bring together employment and job-related information which employees need to know.
Typically, it has three types of content:
A welcome statement, the company’s mission or purpose, company values, and more.
Holiday arrangements, company perks, policies not required by law, policy summaries, and more.
Company policies, rules, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and other information modeled after employment laws or regulations.
Here are the important benefits of having an employee handbook:
- Formalized Policies
A handbook can provide employees with a clear understanding of what they’re responsible for, including how to request time off, how to call in sick, and who to go to with questions about policies or procedures.
By outlining all policies and expectations on both sides of the fence, confusion and inconsistencies are essentially minimized in the workplace.
- Promotes Open Communication and Transparency
Open communication is key to a positive work environment. By giving new hires your handbook, you’re letting them know your mission, purpose, and core values. This sets the stage for a positive business relationship and lets team members know who they can go to with questions about their employment, rights, and work environment.
- Time Saved
A well-written employee handbook offers answers to the most common employees’ questions. By having an employee handbook, you will avoid constant questions over policies. Employees will be able to look up the answers themselves, thus saving your time.
- Legal Disputes Prevented
Lawsuits are a threat in every business, no matter its size or industry. If yours should face a lawsuit or discrimination claim one day from a current or former employee, your handbook could play an influential role in the final outcome. For this reason, make sure you have an expert review your handbook’s wording.
- Company culture outlined
An employee handbook is much more than a list of policies, rules and regulations. A great employee handbook clearly communicates your company’s mission, vision and its values, thus outlining your company’s culture.
Important Note :
A handbook needs to reflect compliance with applicable federal, state and local law.
A handbook should be tailored to your organization and should reflect how you conduct business
For more information about employee handbooks or other HR solutions, contact us today at jumpstart-hr.com/contact
When a small business owner offers employment to a candidate, it can be one of the best feelings in the world for both sides. But what happens if somewhere along the process, mistakes are made that can eventually come back to harm the business? Even worse, what happens if the same mistakes get repeated over time – resulting in catastrophic financial losses and disruption of the business? You might not think it’s possible in your organization but no company is immune to legal trouble when it comes to onboarding new hires. On November 4, 2019, Alberto Ruisanchez, chief, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) gave several helpful tips to stay out of trouble when making your next new hire. In his presentation, entitled “Avoiding Unlawful Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination,” Mr. Ruisanchez mentioned three key areas where employers find themselves in trouble with the law:
- Recruitment or Referral for a Fee
While each of these areas are critically important to pay attention to, I’ve found that most small businesses make mistakes with onboarding the most. Most specifically, there are mistakes made when proving the employee has the right to work in the United States. Here are a few tips to keep your business above board and your new hires happily employed for the long haul!
Be cautious of making hiring preferences based on citizenship status. According to Ruisanchez, many employers are unable to make hiring preferences for American citizens. What does this mean? If you have an open position at your company and non-American citizens apply, you cannot reject them on the basis of their citizenship status. For example, If Joe’s Plumbing and HVAC has an opening for a Senior Manager role, any eligible applicant cannot be dismissed simply because they are not American. If the US Department of Justice or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discovers a practice of excluding qualified applicants from progressing in your hiring process, you may be subject to fines and back pay for all affected individuals.
Now, as with many things relating to the law, there are exceptions. Federal Contractors who participate in contracts that have citizenship-based hiring requirements, workers who are unauthorized to work in America, workers who require employer sponsorship, and, of course, wherever allowable by law.
In order to reduce the odds of trigger an inquiry by the USDOJ and EEOC, I recommend the following tips to stay on the right side of the law:
- For roles that are open to citizens and non-citizens alike, do not ask for citizenship status the application. Only ask if the applicant is eligible to work in the United States.
- Review your application practices to ensure they wouldn’t trigger a red flag. Seek professional help if you have any doubts.
- Keep a record of all applicants and save paperwork + digital applications for the appropriate amount of time required by law.
Understand employee rights with completing Form I-9, and try not to be too “helpful.” When completing Form I-9, a new hire document that all employees must complete, it’s important to give each new hire a choice of which documents they use to complete the form. There are two main requirements for the Form I-9. List A documents show proof of identity and work eligibility while List B documents and List C documents combine to show proof of identity and work eligibility. You have to let the employee pick From my experience, small business owners and administrative staff might think they are being helpful by telling new applicants which I-9 documents to bring but that’s actually no-no. Here’s what I recommend instead:
- Provide your new hire with the full list of List A, List B, and List C documentation. Here is the official USCIS list.
- Give the employee an ample amount of time and notice to secure the documents that they know will cover both proof of identity and eligibilty to work. As the employer, you should check both to ensure neither documents have expired.
- When it comes time to recertify an employee, follow the same course of action. Prescribing which documents to use may seem helpful but it can actually be discriminatory if you only accept certain documents.
For more helpful tips and a recap of the events from the 2019 SHRM Global Mobility and Immigration Summit, check out #GMIS19 on Twitter!
The implications of the #metoo era continue to spread far and wide. As a result, state governments across the country are making big changes. States are making an honest effort to make the workplace less hostile for women and we’re here for it. Take California for example. Cali is known for progressive policies and a pro-employee environment. Did you know that the state is making it mandatory for employees with a handful of employees to complete Sexual Harassment prevention training by the end of 2019? This article will give you a quick overview of what’s required and answer some questions on how Jumpstart:HR, LLC can help your organization meet these new expectations.
Learn More About Sexual Harassment Training
If you’re an employer in California, keep reading. And don’t worry, even if you’re not an employer in the Golden State, keep reading. Your state could be next!
Which employers are required to provide sexual harassment training?
As mentioned above, employers with 5 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to all employees. This includes not just key decision-makers and HR but all employees and supervisors. The state provides some flexible learning options, too. Training can be done in a classroom setting or any other effective interactive training format. That means you can send your employees to training, conduct training in-house, or register for an online program that fits the requirements. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is requiring this training to be completed at least once every two years.
What type of sexual harassment training do employers have to offer?
According to the CA DFEH, employers are required to offer sexual harassment prevention training through one of the following:
- Classroom Training
- Interactive E-learning training
- Live Webinar Training
While there are a few options for employers to consider, the main focus for the training is retention. Not just retention of employees (obviously) but retention of knowledge. Each training options must include the ability to interact with material and have questions answered. It’s not enough to sit through a lecture. The trainings have to be dynamic! Memorable! And complete with quizzes and attendee participation. For training that is offered online, employees must be able to contact a knowledgable trainer who can answer their questions within 2 days or less.
Training must cover not only the prevention of sexual harassment but also:
- The definition of sexual harassment
- Examples of sexual harassment
- The limited confidentiality of the process
- Resources for sexual harassment victims
- And more!
California is investing in comprehensive training and each training must include quizzes and skill-building activities. Those activities are meant to assess the participant’s understanding and application of major concepts.
Wait – how does California define a supervisor?
I’m glad you asked! Because that can often be a tricky question to answer when people merely collaboration on projects as opposed to lead people. Supervisors, by definition, are employees within an organization that have the ability to offer a job and terminate employment. They can also appoint, reassign, reprimand, or reward other employees. California also considers people who have a significant influence in these areas as supervisors as well. These are important distinctions because being a supervisor is not about your title but rather your influence in an organization. For example, if there are two programmers that report to the same boss – yet one is more senior and can help shape the career path of the junior programmer – the senior programmer could be considered a supervisor. It would make sense, then, for the senior programmer to participate in supervisor training.
Does Jumpstart:HR offer sexual harassment training?
Yes, we do! Starting October 1, 2019, Jumpstart:HR will provide live webinar and online e-courses for employees and supervisors alike. While we traditionally support small businesses and startups, both the live webinars and online e-course are designed to support employers large and small. “Eliminating sexual harassment at work isn’t about the size of your company, but rather your commitment to making positive changes that make the workplace a safe space for everyone’ says Jumpstart:HR, LLC Owner Joey Price. Our training has been crafted with the help of legal professionals and stand up to the rigorous guidelines mandated by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.