Handbook review time: a recap of 2022 employment legislation and workplace trends

As those of you for whom we’ve developed and/or updated a employee handbook know, we recommend that you review them on an annual basis, or otherwise regularly and consistently. Not only have there been legislative changes that may impact your policies, as well as an ever-evolving pandemic, your organization may have also undergone change within the last year or so.

2022 Employment-related legislation updates

Below is a quick overview of the updates that have occurred within legislation this year, and that, depending on your industry, may need to be reflected in your handbooks.

  • Canada Labour Code (CLC) – The requirement to provide 10 days (including 3 paid days) of bereavement leave and 10 paid sick days (i.e., medical leave) is now in effect; refer to our post from earlier this year
  • Employment Standards Act (ESA) of BC – The requirement to provide 5 days of paid sick leave (for personal illness or injury), plus 3 additional unpaid days per year came into effect January 2022; refer to our past post
  • Mandatory vaccination policies – Further to our recent post, many provincial and federal sector mandatory vaccine policies were suspended earlier in 2022, and within the public sector in BC, only health care system workers continue to require vaccination

Pandemic-related and initiated practices (e.g., hybrid work models)

While at this time last year many organizations were rolling out policies related to mandatory vaccination, this year, many are revising or rescinding them. Accordingly, the pandemic prompted many employers to rethink how and where they work, resulting in remote and hybrid work policies. While some organizations have since gone fully remote, hybrid work models are becoming common. In making remote work (full or hybrid) an ongoing practice, we recommend developing and including clear expectations within your employee handbooks.

When and how should you update your employee handbook?

While we do recommend regular reviews, we don’t recommend revising, adding to, and/or deleting from your employee handbook every time something changes, unless it’s something significant. Doing so is administratively onerous, makes it difficult to keep track of versions, and challenging to communicate (and/or can be easily missed).

Rather, doing so annually (or every 18 months) lets you ensure those changes should be made (i.e., aren’t reactive to a solitary event), allows you to communicate the updates to your teams (ideally in all-staff or team meetings), and get sign-off on the updated document. It also prevents you from having to start from scratch and/or go through a lengthy and time-consuming process once your handbook is five or more years old, for example.

Finally, while the end or beginning of the new year might not be the one-year anniversary of your last review and/or initial roll-out, for many organizations, this is a good time to update, as it helps set the stage for the year ahead.

Let Jouta’s HR Consultants help you ensure your handbook is ready for 2023!

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