Every business should have a manual that outlines employee policies and workplace rules. This manual can prevent workplace misconduct and give employees the tools to report problems. Many businesses will create an employee handbook but then forget to update it.

With the year just starting, business owners should review their company handbooks and decide if they need to make changes. A well-written and comprehensive handbook can prevent lawsuits and save businesses time when making decisions.

When should businesses update their manual?

Deciding when to make changes to a manual can depend on a business’s size, structure and available resources. Your business should consider making changes to your manual if your manual is out of date of if there are changes to local employment laws. Some human resources professionals recommend updating a handbook at least once a year to prevent potential litigation.

What are common changes to handbooks?

While changes to an employee manual can depend on the needs of the business, here are a few commonly overlooked policies:

  • Social media: Employee social media use inside and outside of work hours can be a difficult policy to tackle. You can prevent misunderstanding by having a policy about how employees can associate with a business on social media and the rules for posting about work.
  • Cyber security: With more cloud-based tools available to businesses, employees may question what kind of websites and tools they can use. Businesses should have a cyber security policy that explains the devices and services available to employees.
  • Sexual harassment: Business can face severe consequences for failing to address sexual harassment in the workplace. Employee manuals should define what sexual harassment is and how employees can report misconduct.
  • Marijuana: With California now allowing the use of legal marijuana, businesses need to have clear workplace drug policies. A written policy that explains the consequences of using drugs on work premises can prevent confusion.
  • Paid and sick leave: To maintain legal compliance, businesses should highlight the leave available to employees and the process for requesting time off.

While the process of updating an employee manual can feel overwhelming, a well-written manual will let your employees work more efficiently. A knowledgeable employment lawyer can help you update your business’s manual. A skilled lawyer can guide you through the process and make sure that your business complies with California state regulations.