Employee handbooks are a vital tool that protects employers and informs employees. Reviewing and updating your handbook periodically is important to ensure it continues to be accurate. The end of the calendar year can be an excellent time to assess yours.
Numerous laws will take effect in 2023, and updating your handbook to reflect these will be vital. Some of the most significant changes are the following:
- Pay transparency when posting job openings
California employers with 15 or more employees that post job openings, either internally or externally, must provide a pay scale for the position described in the posting. Pay scale is defined as the salary or hourly wage range the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position. Pay scale information must also be provided to applicants seeking employment with the employer and to current employees seeking pay scale information about their position.
- New requirement to provide bereavement leave
California employers with 5 or more employees must provide 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave to employees upon the death of a family member. The days off do not need to be taken consecutively but must be completed within 3 months of the death of the bereaved. Employees need to be employed for at least 30 days prior to the leave commencement. The employer may request documentation of the death but must keep the request for bereavement leave and the documentation confidential.
- Expanding the California Family Rights Act
California employers with 5 or more employees are subject to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA now allows an eligible employee to take time off to care for a “designated person” with a serious health condition. For purposes of the CFRA, a designated person is defined as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
- Expanding California Mandatory Paid Sick Leave
California employers must provide 24 hours/3 days of paid sick leave every 12 months. The sick leave can be accrued at one hour for every thirty hours worked or be front loaded. Sick leave can be taken for several reasons, including the illness of the employee or the illness of a family member. The mandatory paid sick leave law has been modified to allow an employee to take sick leave for the illness of a “designated person”. For purposes of the sick leave law, a designated person is defined as “a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick days”.
- Additional protected status of Reproductive Health Decision Making
California recognizes many protected statuses. Employees cannot be subjected to discrimination or harassment based on those protected statuses. California has added “reproductive health decision making” as a new protected status.
You can learn more about these changes by consulting an attorney.
Reflection of current circumstances
Your workplace expectations and culture can shift over time. This could be especially true now as we start to move out of pandemic-era changes and accommodations, like remote work or working hour requirements.
Because of these developments, updating your handbook now can be crucial. You might need to adjust, add or remove elements regarding working from home, sick days and handling of sensitive digital information.
Your employee handbook should remain current to remain effective. Taking the time to review and revise it now can save you and your business from potential conflicts in 2023.