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March 10, 2022 | Posted in:

Why 2022 is the time to update your employee handbook

Federal, state and local labor laws are changing constantly. Safety has taken center stage, remote and hybrid options are the norm, and diversity, equity and inclusion are essential. So much has changed in the past 24 months that it is difficult for businesses to keep up. However, doing so and keeping your employee handbook current is important for compliance, retention and wellness.

Here are some handbook topics that should be reviewed:

COVID-related policies:

Your employees need to know your vaccination guidelines, worksite safety protocols, and remote and hybrid work rules. It is a good idea to incorporate COVID-related policies in a separate addendum for ease of updating and employee use. Keeping COVID policies separate also underscores that they are temporary and can be modified at any time.

Leave policies:

Many states including New Jersey have changed employee paid leave policies. Last year the New Jersey Family Leave Act was strengthened to protect workers caring for sick family members while broadening the definition of ‘family member.’

Marijuana use:

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in New Jersey, non-discriminatory hiring policies, testing and determining if someone is impaired at work are all issues that need to be addressed.

Non-discriminatory language:

Your handbook should spell out the company policies on equal pay, diversity and harassment, and be written using gender-inclusive language.

Juneteenth:

June 19th, commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., is now a national holiday like July 4th, Christmas and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Employee classifications:

The differences between an independent contractor and an employee must be clearly articulated.  Beginning in 2022, misclassifying employees in New Jersey to avoid paying insurance is considered fraud. Penalties for the first violation are up to $5,000 and criminal action is possible.

Author:

Empowering business owners and individuals in South Jersey and Philadelphia to feel confident through proactive accounting and advisory solutions.

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