You know you need a company Policy and Procedures Manual for your human resources department, but you do not know where to begin. It can be difficult to know what policies and procedures to include in a manual if you have never developed an HR manual before. Engaging the help of a South Carolina labor and employment lawyer can help you as you begin developing your company’s manual. In the meantime, here are some things to consider.
Policies and Procedures for Human Resources Manuals
Your manual should contain the policies and procedures your HR department must follow when dealing with employee-related issues. The manual is a reference and a tool that helps HR employees and managers as they navigate the sometimes sensitive issues related to your employees. It also contains forms and checklists that your HR department needs to perform its role in your company.
Some of the information contained in the manual duplicates the information in your employee handbook, but the manual provides much more detailed information that employees do not necessarily need to know. The manual ensures that your HR policies and procedures are not vague and do not allow for any interpretation that could result in legal problems and lawsuits.
Ten topics that you should always cover in your HR Policies and Procedures Manual are:
1. Pregnancy Discrimination — It can be difficult to know how to handle situations involving pregnant employees. Because pregnancy is considered a form of temporary disability, you must be very careful about how you handle issues such as reductions in job duties and time away from work. The EEOC has detailed information on its website regarding pregnancy discrimination.
2. Anti-Discrimination Policies — This section should include policies related to all forms of discrimination. You may combine the pregnancy discrimination section in this section, but many companies have a separate section for pregnancy discrimination since it has become an issue for many companies.
3. Email Use — The use of company email systems should be clearly defined in your policies and procedures manual and your employee handbook. HR managers need a detailed guide regarding the use of company email so that they can spot and correct the inappropriate use of email within the company.
4. Ethics and Conduct — The section on ethics and conduct should cover issues such as harassment, workplace violence, dress codes, workplace civility policy, possession of weapons, and drug policies. The ethics and conduct portion of the manual will be tailored to your specific industry and company values.
5. Compensation — This section of the manual usually covers general rules regarding compensation, including salary adjustments, overtime policies, the establishment of the work week, compensatory time, promotions, the definition of full-time employment, and maximum pay grades for specific jobs and positions.
6. Employee Benefits — The employee handbook contains an explanation of the various employee benefits your company offers. The HR manual should go into each benefit in further detail to provide information HR managers need should questions related to benefits arise.
7. Attendance Policies — As with the benefits, your HR manual needs to go into greater detail regarding attendance policies. For example, how are requests for religious holidays handled, what is the definition of a serious health condition, when is a return to work certification required, and, when is bereavement leave granted?
8. Separation From the Company — Topics to include in this section include policies and definitions related to resignations, terminations, appeal of terminations, eligibility for re-employment, alternate job placement, job abandonment, and death of employees.
9. Complaints and Grievances — In this section, you need to cover what constitutes a valid complaint or grievance and the process for moving complaints and grievances through the management system, especially complaints regarding discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
10. Procedures for Disciplinary Actions and Appeals — To avoid claims of discrimination, a detailed policy and procedure for reprimanding employees and taking disciplinary action must be developed and uniformly utilized throughout the company. An employee handbook should give the basic steps in this process, but the HR manual goes into greater detail about the process for reprimanding and dismissing employees and how an employee can appeal the action.
Contact a South Carolina Business Attorney if You Have Questions
Developing a company Policy and Procedures Manual can be tricky. You need to ensure the terms you include in your HR manual protect your company while you avoid violating various laws and regulations. The above items are just a small example of the policies and procedures a company should include in its HR manual.
A South Carolina business attorney can help you develop policies and procedures that benefit your company and translate those policies and procedures into a comprehensive manual that guides your human resources department employees in performing their jobs. Contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA to discuss your policies and procedures today.