When to Update Employee Handbooks and HR Policies in Iowa

And why to consider an employment attorney when doing so

By Super Lawyers staff | Last updated on January 20, 2023

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A company’s employee handbook and/or formalized human resource (HR) policies play an essential role in business operations and employment relationship. These documents serve as a guide for work rules and employment policies. A well-crafted employee handbook can help you limit issues in the free workplace and improve job performance. Employers should review and, if necessary, revise their employee handbook on a regular basis. Here, you will find an overview of the four main reasons why companies and organizations in Iowa need an updated employee handbook and HR policies.

Four Reasons Why Every Company Needs a Fully Updated Handbook and/or HR Policies

If a business or organization is operating with an outdated employee handbooks and evaluations, major problems can arise. Both the employer and its employees may be vulnerable. Here are four key reasons why employers in Iowa should update their handbook and/or HR policies regularly:

  1. Legal Changes: An employee handbook should be fully consistent with federal law (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and Iowa state law (such as the Iowa Civil Rights Act). Of course, there are many more labor & employment regulations on the books. These local laws can and do change. It is crucial that your company’s handbook and HR policies are fully compliant for eligible employees.
  2. Cultural Changes: Beyond legal changes, the general culture and work environment also changes. The best practices of three decades ago may not be applicable. As an example, a seemingly simple thing like a dress code can grow outdated over time.
  3. Company Changes: An employee handbook should be updated to reflect any changes to the company. This is essential because many state and federal employment laws only apply to employers of a certain size. When a company grows, it may face different labor and employment law requirements.
  4. Technology Changes: Finally, it is important to note that technology in the workplace is fast-changing. Make sure that your company’s employee handbook and HR policies consider technology. For instance, many companies have expanded their use of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other video conferencing over the last year. An employee handbook may need to be updated to address these technological changes.

It is a best practice for employers to review (and, if needed, revise) their employee handbook and HR policies on an annual basis. Additionally, there should be a review when there are significant changes—such as a new law or a major change to the company’s day-to-day operations.

An Employment Attorney Will Ensure Your Employee Handbook Protects Your Company

Drafting an effective employee handbook is a complicated task. There are a number of different potential pitfalls that a company or organization can run into, such as a harassment policy, disability insurance and any available employee assistance programs. An employment attorney will ensure that your company’s handbook is fully updated and properly crafted. If you have any questions about updating an employee handbook and/or HR policies, contact an experienced Iowa employment & labor attorney for immediate assistance.

For more information about employment and labor law, read our overview article.

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