Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I have an employee handbook?
An employee handbook is a resource for your company that ensures that all employees are advised of their rights and responsibilities that you are legally required to notify them of, and makes them aware of the company's rules and policies. Key reasons for having an employee handbook include:
First impressions can create lasting impressions. A company that has taken the time to develop and present a thorough employee handbook makes a good impression on new hires, and sets the bar for expected professionalism.
An employee handbook is really the minimum legal requirement to demonstrate that the company complies with laws affecting the workplace such as safety and employment discrimination laws.
Typical handbooks cover issues such as company policies and procedures including but not limited to pay, attendance, benefits, sexual harassment, discipline, and safety. Standardizing these policies and practices gives employees security knowing what the company expects from them and from the company itself. The handbook provides an efficient format to train new hires and is an important resource for re-training existing employees.
Generally employees sign a form confirming that they have read, understand and agree to the employee handbook policies and procedures as a condition of employment. The handbook and this acknowledgment can be an important first line of defense if an employee files a claim or lawsuit against the company.
An employee handbook that is thorough and clearly written can save management and human resources time in addressing questions or issues covered in the handbook. Employees can self-help to get their answers. This frees up management to spend time where the business can make money.
The Employment Source has written employee handbooks for scores of companies. We do not give each client the same form handbook. Each handbook is designed to fit the unique needs and circumstances of each company. We can prepare your handbook to fit your needs, where you want your business to be, and keep your business legally compliance.
Why can't we just use someone else's handbook or buy one off the Internet?
We see it all the time. “You” take a handbook and simply change the name. That’ll work, right? No way. One size certainly does not fit all. Your company is unique. Our experience has shown us that when meeting with a new client, the first 30 or more minutes are spent discussing with the client the uniqueness of their company and employees and how those factor into their industry and market. Why would you want to manage this uniqueness with an employee manual and management policies that do not fit your company or reflect your values
. ? Stop and think:
What is your family medical leave policy and is it what you want?
Do you allow casual Friday’s?
Is allowing rollover of vacation or PTO a good idea for your company? (Think about the financial liability on this one.)
Do you have a policy on social media that limits what your employees can post on blogs and Facebook about the company, customers, or other employees? Do you need one?
Do your policies comply with recent changes in State and Federal law? Or are you using someone else’s handbook that is out of date?
You may even have locations in different states with vastly different sets of employment laws and regulations. For example, do you know when you can legally deduct for stolen property from an employee’s paycheck in Iowa versus Illinois? Are you required to payout unused vacation even when you fire someone for theft? Do you have to give a fired employee their final paycheck on the day you fire them? It depends on the state.
Why should I have job descriptions?
Employee job descriptions are written statements that describe the duties, responsibilities, required qualifications, and reporting relationships of a particular job. Employee job descriptions are based on objective information obtained through job analysis, an understanding of the competencies and skills required to accomplish needed tasks, and the needs of the organization to produce work. They also include information about working conditions, tools, equipment used, knowledge and skills needed, and relationships with other positions.
Depending on how they are prepared and used, employee job descriptions have some advantages, but can also have some disadvantages.
Whether you're a small business or a large, multi-site organization, well-written employee job descriptions will help you to communicate to an employee a company direction and where the employee fits in the company.
Employee job descriptions should be the first place to look for the company’s expectations for an employee. This will assist in managing the employee in job performance.
Employee job descriptions will describe the physical requirements of the essential functions of the job. This will ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act when selection and performance decisions are made.
In making the selection of new employee, the employee job description will provide a checklist of what skills and expertise the new hire should possess.
At a time when most business want their employees to be flexible and multi-skilled, employee job descriptions can put people back into an organizational chart box that limits an employee’s skill development and advancement. When well written, employee job descriptions will afford the flexibility for employees to work outside of the box and grow.
Employee job descriptions often become dated as soon as they are written. Therefore, although thorough, well written job descriptions must be flexible and supplemented with individual employee and organization goals.
Vague, unmeasurable, and unused employee job descriptions can create a risk to the company in discrimination and/or wrongful termination lawsuits. To be effective an employee job description should be updated and regularly used to supplement employee performance management and be an integral part of the hiring process.
The Employment Source has decades of combined experience in preparing job descriptions that include physical requirements and where needed, job hazard assessments. We can prepare for you relevant job descriptions that will keep your business legally compliance and help you and your business better manage and motivate your people to success.
Why does my company need safety program services?
Workplace safety training and safe practices may not seem very important in your workplace, but federal and state law requires that all employees (even those in office settings) have basic safety training and education about their rights. Remember, it only takes one serious injury, health incident, or compliance violation to bring your operations to a halt or increase your insurance costs. Either can put the continued success of your business at risk.
The Employment Source staff can review your workplace and design a safe practices program to protect your employees, bring you in compliance, and maximize your company’s efficiency and productivity. And for those times when an accident or injury does occur, The Employment Source can provide your company with effective loss control and claims management procedures to minimize cost and downtime.
Is your worker really an independent contractor?
The Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, and many state agencies have prioritized the classification of employees as independent contractors for agency enforcement activities. Employers who call their workers “independent contractors” and thereby avoid paying unemployment taxes or compensation, workers compensation insurance, social security, and federal and state tax withholding are the target of these enforcement activities.
To many employers, calling someone an independent contractor just seems easier. So, how is an employer to know if a worker should be paid as an employee or an independent contractor? The difference between an employee and an independent contractor is the degree of control that the employer has over the worker. Some of the main indicators used in determining the degree of control are:
Do you tell the employee when and where to report to work?
Is the employee given instructions on how the work is to be performed?
Is the work supervised by anyone on your staff?
Is the employee covered by any of your fringe benefit plans?
Have you issued the employee a company ID card?
Are you providing business cards, stationery or other company property?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, the worker may not be an independent contractor but instead may be an employee. Fines, back taxes, back wages, can be expensive if you are wrong. The Employment Source can help you manage these issues and make a determination what solution fits your business. Should you do a direct hire, is a leased or temporary employee a better solutions, or can you manage a need with an actual independent contractor? We will work through these decisions with you because at The Employment Source, we’ve got your back.
Does The Employment Source provide legal advice and representation?
At The Employment Source we say, “We don’t give legal advice, we give good advice.” Although our staff includes two attorneys, we do not provide legal representation or advice. But with this knowledge and expertise working for you, you can rest assured that you are getting the highest quality HR support. When legal help is needed, we will alert you and work with your attorney to simplify the issues, provide support, and minimize the amount of legal time and support you need.