Is your employee manual as comprehensive as it should be?

To reduce liability and protect employees, all organizations need a comprehensive, up-to-date employee manual. Some of the most commonly missed — but essential — policies include:

Paycheck deductions. Specify that deductions from an employee’s paycheck (other than taxes and Social Security) require his or her written, signed approval. This includes deductions for health, life and disability insurance premiums and retirement account contributions.

Health insurance. Explain what you offer employees and their dependents, including levels of coverage, deductibles and eligibility dates, as applicable. If you don’t provide health insurance, include information about Affordable Care Act Marketplace (or Exchange) options and note that individuals who buy their own policies are potentially eligible for a premium tax credit.

Property and technology use. Address the use of your organization’s property, including copy machines, supplies and phones, and disclose disciplinary measures for breaking the rules. Similarly address approved and unapproved use of computer hardware, software, email, Internet access, social media accounts and employer-issued mobile devices. Be sure to state that your organization has the legal right to monitor employees’ technology use.

Sexual harassment. Specifically instruct employees on how to file a complaint and document their claim if they feel they’ve been harassed. Also make sure staff members sign a document stating that they’ve read your sexual harassment policy, understand it and will abide by it.

Employment termination. List the types of discharges employees are subject to — voluntary, involuntary and reductions in workforce. Also define “job abandonment” — typically when an employee hasn’t scheduled time off or called in sick but doesn’t show up for work for three days or more.

Workers’ comp and unemployment insurance. To comply with workers’ compensation laws, employees should immediately give notice of any work-related injury or occupational illness, however slight. Note that unemployment insurance statutes are designed to provide insurance to those who are eligible to receive benefits when unemployed.

Be sure to have an attorney review any changes you make to your organization’s employee manual. And contact us for other ideas for reducing risk.

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