With rapid changes in technology and business trends, companies are looking to update their employee handbooks with more frequency than before.
Not just more often, but more thoroughly. If there is a significant change in a company’s operations, especially a large increase in hiring or an expansion into new territory, the handbook’s terminology and content will need updating.
“While many policies can apply to all employees in a company, there may be some policies that need to have specific provisions for employees working in different cities and states,” said Molly Jones, senior associate in Alston & Bird’s Labor & Employment Group. “State and local laws vary, for instance, regarding when an employer is required to provide leave and issues related to vacation time, such as its accrual, carryover and payment upon termination.”
The rise of social media in the workplace is playing a major role in handbook rewrites.
“Employers should note that social media policies have been a focus of the National Labor Relations Board, in both union and non-union workforces, so it is wise to review social media policies with counsel to ensure that any restrictions imposed on employees are permissible or advisable,” said Jones.
As data security becomes a business priority, many companies are looking at ways to keep employees connected without risking their – or their clients’ – data.
“For example, many companies maintain ‘bring your own device’ policies, but data security is inherent in allowing company information to be stored on employees’ personal devices,” said Jones. “Such policies may, for example, require employees to lock their devices, install certain antivirus software, use secure connections and report to the company if the device is lost or stolen.”