The COVID-19 pandemic brought about massive changes to our daily and business lives, including shutdowns, remote workers, furloughs, and more. Now that businesses are starting to re-open and employees are returning to work, it’s time for employers to evaluate whether or not their policies and procedures served them well. One area we’ve seen that often failed to help companies through the brunt of the pandemic is their HR manual.
The purpose of an HR manual is twofold. First of all , it is a guide for employees in terms of benefits, expectations, processes, and policies. Perhaps even more importantly, a well-written HR manual protects and prepares the employer. It can reduce an employer’s liability exposure and be a point of reference in terms of legal compliance.
In light of the pandemic, there are key points that every employer should re-examine. First, review your company’s policy on extended paid sick leave and family medical leave. The federal updates caught thousands of employers off-guard. Another area to examine is the anti-discrimination statements in the manual. The recent U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that LGBTQ workers are protected by federal employment anti-discrimination laws means employers must be more cognizant of their anti-discrimination programs, policies and practices. The third area to consider is your policy for employees that refuse to return to work after a furlough or work shutdown like so many employers experienced during the pandemic. In fact, this third point has become such an issue, the state has encouraged employers to report refusals to return to work. You can visit our website here to see how to report these employees.
These are but three areas that may require adjustments in order to maintain compliance and provide protection, but chances are, there are other policies that are also outdated. Now is the time to re-examine your entire HR manual to make sure it covers all the bases and provides you the protection your business needs and deserves.
We are experienced in helping companies keep their HR manuals current. If you need help or have questions, please reach out.