Friday, March 2, 2007

Employee Handbooks

Thanks to the HR Lawyer Blog for a link to this article from the Monterey Herald. HR Lawyer quoted the following and I am too as it makes a very good point that even small businesses ought to have an employee handbook:

An employer that does not have written guidelines in place is much more likely to encounter problems arising from ignorance of its policies, inconsistent or unfair application of those policies, conflicting policies, and resulting confusion among its employees. This can lead to internal problems such as employee dissatisfaction and discrimination charges filed by employees who feel they have been treated unfairly.
While the article mentions California law (the newspaper is a California newspaper), the following should not be ignored because of its California roots:
Assuming that you do decide to develop an employee handbook, it is important that the handbook be kept up-to-date and current with the law. Because of the frequent changes in California employment law, and because of the complexity of those laws, an employee handbook should be thoroughly reviewed and updated every two to three years. You may also want to consider translating your handbook into languages other than English, depending on the languages spoken by your employees. Employers are required to provide certain policies in a language other than English if 10 percent or more of their employees' primary language is not English. Those policies include those regarding the Family Medical Leave Act, and Pregnancy Disability Leave.
If it were writing the above-paragraph, I would include Indiana's Wage Payment Statute and our rather strange Age Discrimination Act. Translating handbooks into Spanish makes sense with our increasing Hispanic population. When I saw that I thought - oh, yeah, we need to start thinking about that. I am sure that few of the smaller businesses who do have employee handbooks have a Spanish version.