Update Your Handbooks for 2018 Laws

Published Monday, January 29, 2018 7:00 am

One of the most common employee handbook mistakes is not updating it each year. This year lawmakers have been busy passing new bills that directly affect workplace policies and employee handbooks.

Leave laws. It is important for employee handbook policies to reflect the latest leave laws, especially those on the state and municipal level, such as paid sick leave, safe leave, organ donor leave, or leave to serve in the military or National Guard. Leave law policies are important because they provide knowledge about what types of leave employees are entitled to, the reasons for taking leave, the eligibility requirements, the documentation required and how time may be used.

Equal pay and wage discrimination. Employers should take note that over the past few years California has significantly expanded equal pay provisions and enacted legislation promoting wage transparency in order to close the wage gap. Additionally, new laws for 2018 prohibit employers from seeking information regarding salary history from job applicants.

Reasonable accommodations. California has expanded reasonable accommodations for individuals who identify as transgender. Based on these developments, an employer should make sure to update its handbook to include policies on reasonable accommodations in the workplace and show compliance with these laws.

Addressing violence and weapons in the workplace. Workplace violence can take many forms. Under the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, an employer is obligated to provide a safe working environment, including an environment safe from harm, and minimize the risk of workplace violence. Therefore, it is important for an employer to have policies to prevent workplace violence, ban weapons from the workplace and ensure all employees' safety.

To update an employee handbook for 2018, employers should:

1. Update Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policies;
2. Review Reasonable Accommodation Policies;
3. Comply with New and Updated Leave Laws, such as California’s “New Parent Leave Law” for employers with 20-49 employees effective Jan. 1, 2018;
4. Incorporate Laws Regarding Military Leave and Other Protections;
5. Amend Equal Pay and Wage Discrimination Policies;
6. Ensure Safe Driving Policies;
7. Amend Smoke-Free Workplace Policies;
8. Address Violence and Weapons in the Workplace; and
9. Add Predictable Scheduling Policies (in cities where this is required).

Want to be sure you are in compliance? Let CEA review your handbook for you. Call us at 800-399-5331 to get started today!

Source: CEA HRAnswers Now and XpertHR.


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