Your company handbook represents an easy way to communicate certain things relating to payroll, benefits, workplace rules, company policies, etc. And if your company is like most others, your policies change from time to time. Those changes require updating the handbook to keep your workers in the loop. If you have made changes for 2017, now is the time to get your handbook updated and distributed.
Putting off company handbook updates only makes it easy to forget about those updates altogether. This is why so many employers are working with handbooks that are several years old and terribly out of date. Do not let that be the case with yours. Set aside some time in the coming days and weeks to work on updates.
Changes to Retirement Plans
We offer 401(k) plans for small businesses along with a full range of payroll services, so we know how important retirement plans are to workers. Your employees expect full transparency when it comes to their 401(k) plans. They have every right to that expectation. If your employee handbook discusses the company sponsored retirement plan in any way, make sure the information is up-to-date.
Changes to Health Insurance
Health insurance is just as important to employees as a retirement plan. In an era of ACA compliance, health insurance is even more important. Once again, your employee handbook should be updated if it contains any information about health insurance options. This includes information about open enrollment and what employees can expect in terms of coverage.
Overtime Rules and Policies
Federal action has meant a change in the way employers now look at overtime for salaried workers. As such, your company may have had to change its own rules and policies relating to overtime. Those changes should be clearly explained in your employee handbook.
Social Media Use
Though social media use is not directly related to payroll and benefits, we find it necessary to address anyway. Social media is gradually becoming a point of contention between employers looking to protect their reputations and employees choosing to exercise their free speech rights. Avoid as much conflict as possible by making sure your employee handbook contains up-to-date information about your company's social media policies. If you are not sure what is and is not allowed, the National Labor Relations Board can provide guidance.
Alternate Work Locations
Finally, you may be open to the idea of letting your employees choose alternate work locations in order to reduce your own overhead at the office. That's a good move. But any alternative work locations need to be outlined in your employee handbook. Do you want telecommuting workers to restrict their work to the home environment? Is it okay for them to work at home or the local coffee shop? These are the kinds of things your employees need to know.
Contact Us for Guidance
If you are already a BenefitMall client, you can always contact us for guidance on any issues relating to payroll or benefits administration. We cannot write your employee manual for you, but we can answer any questions you might have to whatever extent these pertain to the services we provide your company.
We urge you to use plain, simple language in your employee handbook. Write out your policies using terms and examples your employees understand. Otherwise, the handbook will not do any good. Remember this: the employee handbook doesn't exist to help you get a better handle on your company; it exists to help your workers understand what is expected of them. They have to be able to understand what they read.