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April 8, 2013

Is it time to update your employee policies?

by contributor
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Having written employee policies important, but even more important is having accurate and up-to-date policies.

iStock_000004508206Small200Having written employee policies for your company is important, but even more important is having accurate and up-to-date policies. Having out-of-date or inaccurate policies can be worse than not having any written policies.

I recommend reviewing your written employee policies at least once a year. This will allow the company to address changes in its practices that may render parts of the policies inaccurate, and allow the company to change the policies that may be required by law.

If you have never had your written employee policies reviewed by an attorney familiar with employment law, this should be your first step. The attorney can point out sections that are out of compliance with current employment law, and can suggest changes necessary to become compliant. Recent changes, not only in employment law (such as the Seattle Sick and Safe Leave ordinance), but also other laws (such as Washington’s marijuana law and same-sex marriage law), may require changes to your written policies.

However, just as important as having your policies comply with current law is ensuring your policies conform to current company practices. Unlike an attorney review, this is a fact-specific review that can really only be completed by the company itself. Look at your policies closely — is the company following its own written policies? If not, it’s crucial to either change the written policies to conform with actual company practices (provided the actual practices are legal) or change company practices to conform with its written policies.

The last step is communicating the policies company-wide. Highlight any changes from previous versions, stress the new policies are the current policies and that everyone is expected and required to follow them, and obtain written acknowledgement of receipt of the new polices. You needn’t provide each individual with a printed hard copy of the current policies, as long as you ensure that every individual has easy access to them.

Originally published by Equinox Business Law Group.

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