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The Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

August 7th, 2016

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A corporate employee handbook is a critical resource for both an employer and employees. The job of this one document is to inform new hires about the company’s policies and procedures. It should outline each element of the business to the employee in as far as it concerns the new hire. If there is a problem with work performance, missing days or other concerns, the employer easy has the documentation to indicate that the employee did, in fact, have knowledge of the policies at the time of hire. An employee handbook does more than this, though.

Define Who to Report Problems To

One of the ways an employee handbook can help is to providing information to the employee about who to talk to when there are questions, concerns, or even problems. Is a co-worker driving the employee mad? He or she needs to know what steps to take to deal with that problem.

Laws Outlined

The employee handbook should outline all federal and state laws that apply. This includes the Family medical Leave Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. In doing so, it informs the employee of his or her rights while also minimizing the risk of confusion about limitations to those risks.

It’s a Reference

It should not be too long. It should be as concise as possible so it works as an effective reference for the employee. However, it should not leave out important information. For example, it should provide employees with a way to report discrimination, harassment, and even absences from work. It also should not be written in legalese that makes it hard for the employee to understand the information.

It’s an Introduction

In addition to providing information about the company, an effective employee handbook should also provide an introduction to the company. Employees should know who the company’s head is and what type of operations take place. It should know who the head of the HR department is too. In short, it introduces the company to the employee and welcomes them into the fold.

Liability Issues

The employee handbook also provides an extensive resource for liability. It provides protection from the “I didn’t know” questions. In addition, it can require confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure statements for employees. Though it must be carefully reviewed, these types of statements can protect a company even after the employee no longer works there.

The ultimate goal of an employee handbook is to educate the new employee or the current hire. They fit into virtually every business as they are designed to accommodate the company specifically. When done properly, they ensure the company and the employees are on the literal same page when it comes to how to do their job and what to expect when doing so.

Find out how Concorde Personnel can support your staffing need in White Plains, New York and surrounding areas.

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What Should You Know About the NLRB

April 18th, 2012

Acting as an independent agent of the government of the United States, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has the task of conducting certain functions involved in labor union relations. These functions include representing, investigating, and remedying labor practices deemed to be unfair.  Unfair labor practices that the NLRB investigates aren’t only for union-related situations though. The NLRB also remedies unfair labor practices with respect to protected concerted activity.

All-in-all, the NLRB has a governing board of five people, as well as General Counsel. These individuals are appointed by the President, but they also receive consent from the Senate. Board members have a five year appointment, while General Counsel members have a four-year term. The General Counsel plays a key role as prosecutor, while the Board plays the role of the appellate judicial body.

Functions of the National Labor Relations Board from an HR Perspective

Human Resource managers should be well-aware of the functions and benefits of the National Labor Relations Board.  Overall, the NLRB protects the rights of employers of the private sector. It also helps improve both working conditions and wages. For this reason alone, it serves an important function, purpose, and benefit.

Specific functions the NLRB is tasked with include the following:

Responds to Unfair Labor Relations Practices

A very important function of the NRLB is their responsibility to respond to complaints of unfair labor practices. When hearing complaints relating to unfair practices in labor, it provides orderly and organized processing for both protecting and implementing the rights of all workforce parties. These include not only employees and union workers, but employers as well. The NLRB has a vested interest and power in safeguarding the rights of employees who may want to organize and team together in a union as a representation agent in bargaining.

Any employee, employer, or union member who thinks their rights – pertaining to alleged unfair labor practices – under the National Labor Relations Act, have been violated, are welcome to file charges at their nearest NLRB office.  Keep in mind that whenever a charge is decided to have merit, the NLRB prefers parties to settle the grievance outside of the courtroom whenever possible, rather than seeking litigation.

Conducts Elections

Conducting and overseeing elections is another important role of the NLRB. To determine whether a majority interest of employees want to form a union, the NLRB receives thousands of filed petitions in regional offices by employers, unions, and employees, and then determines if the number of signed petitions is adequate.

The National Labor Relations Board is a long-standing agency that has been protecting the rights of employers, employees, and unions since it was formed in 1935.

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9 Employment Laws That Will Impact Your Business in 2012

January 24th, 2012

As most of us are flipping our calendars to 2012 to start a brand new year, there will be many changes for the small business world – including many human resource and employment laws that will impact the way small businesses operate. Being aware of these changes in employment and hiring laws is critical to your success. To help you get a jump start on the year ahead, here’s a brief rundown of 12 regulatory changes that may impact your business, to help you stay out of legal hot water.

  1. Employee Classification – Now is the time to review your employee classification system, because several US states are enacting stricture guidelines and fines for companies that misclassify workers. This includes actual job descriptions, salary vs. non-salaried, employee vs. contractor, work hours, and overtime.
  2. Immigration Reform – This is a big one with many states and the federal government, that will be cracking down on the hiring of illegals and employers who don’t pay minimum wage or provide benefits to green-card carrying immigrants. More use of E-verify will become mandatory in the USA as a way to identify illegals.
  3. Job Creation – As President Obama continues to focus on bringing tax credits to small businesses as well as tax cuts to ordinary working citizens, we will keep seeing legislation geared towards job creation in America. Consider making some of your temporary workers into permanent employees to see these benefits. Also, there will be more funds available for those who wish to start their own businesses in 2012.
  4. Employment Laws – Many states, supported by the US Department of Labor, are looking into creating new employment laws that will clarify and set standards in the overtime and minimum wage requirements on the part of employers so they can help workers understand these laws. Good time to update your minimum wage and overtime posters on the company bulletin board.
  5. Debt and Deficit Reduction – Going into 2012 be aware that Congress has a focus on reducing the national debt in big ways, starting with tax reform for businesses and individuals. While the recent extension of payroll-tax cuts for an additional two months  benefits many, expect that some of the tax credits you enjoy now may be gone by the end of this election year, and plan accordingly.
  6. Business Security and Privacy – With  cybercrimes on the rise in recent years, many businesses are ramping up privacy and security in a big way going into the New Year. This means you may need to review your current safety and security policies to make sure they comply with state and federal laws, including the way you store data about your employees.
  7. Health Insurance Reform – The Affordable Care Act of 2010 started the ball rolling in terms of how health care insurance works in the USA, including how businesses provide access to group benefits. Be aware of these laws by visiting http://www.healthcare.gov/ for updates on these laws. This includes the new dependent care laws that require insurance coverage for young adults up to age 26. Additionally, employers filing 250 or more W-2 forms in the past year will need to include the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on the 2012 W-2 form.
  8. Unemployment Insurance – Congress is working on reinstating the federal unemployment surtax, which could cause businesses to see increases in unemployment taxes going into 2012. This is to offset the burdens of a national average of just under 9 percent unemployment nation-wide, and to cut down on unemployment insurance fraud.
  9. 401(k) Retirement Savings – In 2012, employers will also have to provide additional fee disclosures to employees who participate. Reforms in 401(k) laws will also restrict how many loans employees can take from their funds for emergencies and hardships. Look for alternatives to 401(k) plans to give employees more options when it comes to saving for retirement.

Want more up-to-date information and resources on various HR and career topics? Be sure to come back often to Concorde Personnel’s blog, and be sure to add your questions and comments below. We love feedback!

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