Employee handbooks are an important piece of education for all employees. This document is more than a handful of papers provided to new hires, it’s a critical asset that sets the tone for workplace interaction, communicates company policies, and promotes problem solving, fairness and consistency among employees. It sets forth the expectations of your employees and outlines what your employees can expect from your company. Essentially, it ensures everyone is on the same page—literally.
In the State of Maryland (and most states across the country), legislative updates are made to employment and labor laws every year. There are also ever-changing federal laws that employers must keep pace with. That’s why it is critical to update and refresh your employee handbook on a yearly basis to ensure you stay in compliance and nip employee concerns in the bud. Failing to do so can put your business at financial and reputational risk should you be hit with a lawsuit from an employee.
To help you get started updating your employee handbook—or possibly even building one from scratch—here are some essential topics every handbook should include:
- Non-discrimination and harassment
- Wage and hour
- Benefits and leave administration
- Health and safety
- Drug-free policy
- Communications (i.e. internet, privacy, email, company property policies)
- Ethics and integrity (i.e. conflict of interest, secondary employment using company information, etc.)
Aside from keeping you out of legal trouble, an updated employee handbook can also help you lower your insurance rates. Since most insurance carriers reassess your insurance premiums based on the risk management you have in place and the number of claims you file, having an updated employee handbook can help to reduce employee lawsuits, workplace accidents, liability damages and other litigation expenses. Bottom line—the fewer claims an insurance carrier must pay out, the better your insurance rates will be.
Have questions about your personal or commercial insurance? Contact us to speak with a licensed insurance professional.