Have You Reviewed Your Employee Handbook Lately?

Have You Reviewed Your Employee Handbook Lately? Tips On What To Look For.

Reviewing your Employee Handbook can be crucial to understanding how to conduct yourself at work, and often times off work as well. Federal and state regulatory systems have imposed new and recent obligations on employers that need to be included in handbooks. Below is a list of four policies that could affect all employees.

1. Social Media

Many employees now use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media. Check to see if your Handbook addresses such issues, and of what kind of communication is prohibited, such as the consequences of “misuse” of social media relating to employment or the employer. Be aware that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is increasingly reviewing employer limitations on employee social media usage as a potential unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act. Recent cases finding a Facebook “Like” and “Follow” are protected under the NLRB.

2. Paid Sick Leave/ Paid Time Off Due to an Illness. 

Your Handbook should cover whether an employee is eligible for paid sick leave. A number of states (Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon) and numerous counties and cities require employers to provide paid sick leave to the employee. While other states may not cover sick leave, ALL states are required to abide by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Whereby a private or public employer who employs 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of the facility is required to provide paid Sick Leave.  An employee seeking leave under FMLA must have worked for the employer for 12 months or longer, compiling 1,250 hours of service with that employer during the 12 months before seeking leave.

Specifically, the Statute provides for 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period for one or more of the following:

  1. Birth of a child;
  2. Adoption or foster care of child;
  3. Serious health condition of child, spouse, or parent;
  4. Serious health condition of employee which makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.

3. Confidentiality Provisions

Many companies have handbook provisions regarding protection of confidential information.  Many handbooks are lengthy and employees skim through them rather than carefully reading them. Confidentiality provisions are among the most important pages to read if included in the employee handbook. We recommend paying close attention to the following clauses: non-disclosure, return of property, duty of loyalty, and use of company ESI/email policies.

4. Leave of Absence/Reasonable Accommodation

In reviewing your Employee Handbook,  each employer, depending on state, size, and location may have to abide to different requirements for paid leave of absence. Employees could be entitled to short term or long term paid leave depending on the illness.  Further, the American with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided to individuals with disabilities, which may include time off from work.

Should your employer change any policy, the employees should have full understanding of those changes. While there is no one-size-fits-all for all employers handbooks, being aware of your employee benefits and your rights are important whether you are being hired, hold a position, or are planning on changing jobs.

 To learn more about Employment & Labor Law, please click here: www.LineschFirm.com

Article By: Daniela Carrion