Human Resources Functions Need Annual Check-Ups Too (Part I)

By: Rachel D. Gebaide

Senior living residents see their physicians for preventive care and to monitor existing conditions. Shouldn’t senior living facilities do the same with for their human resources departments?

Today’s topic:  Employee Handbooks

Senior living facilities often have a 24/7 work force that require different employment policies and procedures than a traditional office environment.  An untreated out-of-date handbook can lead to severe problems down the road.  Patients who avoid preventive care may find themselves in the Emergency Department.  Senior living facilities without an outdated employee handbook may find themselves in the courthouse.

As we approach the final quarter of the year, now is the time to give your Employee Handbook a check-up.  Some handbooks are more comprehensive than others, but all handbooks should include the employer’s expectations on basic topics including, without limitation, confidentiality and HIPAA; equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment prevention policies; payroll policies; work schedules and break times; vacation, sick time, and other leave policies; standards of conduct; dress code; electronic communications policies; social media policies; and employee benefits.

Employers should periodically audit their personnel files to make sure that the files contain each employee’s signed acknowledgment that he or she received and read the Employee Handbook.  A new acknowledgment should be obtained from each employee every time a new version of the handbook is issued, but be sure to keep the acknowledgments that pertain to prior versions too.

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