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Why 2022 is the Time to Update Your Employee Handbook

March 10, 2022 | posted by Abacus Payroll

Federal, state and local labor laws are changing constantly. Safety has taken center stage, remote and hybrid options are the norm, and diversity, equity and inclusion are essential. So much has changed in the past 24 months that it is difficult for businesses to keep up.

However, doing so and keeping your employee handbook current is important for compliance, retention and wellness.


Here are some timely handbook topics that should be reviewed:


COVID-related policies

Your employees need to know your vaccination guidelines, worksite safety protocols, and remote and hybrid work rules. It is a good idea to incorporate COVID-related policies in a separate addendum for ease of updating and employee use. Keeping COVID policies separate also underscores that they are temporary and can be modified at any time.


Leave policies

Many states including New Jersey have changed employee paid leave policies. Last year the New Jersey Family Leave Act was strengthened to protect workers caring for sick family members while broadening the definition of ‘family member.’


Marijuana use

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in New Jersey, non-discriminatory hiring policies, testing and determining if someone is impaired at work are all issues that need to be addressed.


Non-discriminatory language

Your handbook should spell out the company policies on equal pay, diversity and harassment, and be written using gender-inclusive language.



June 19th, commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., is now a federal holiday like July 4th, Christmas and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. You may need to address how your company will handling this new holiday. Juneteenth will be observed on Monday, June 20, 2022 this year.


Employee classifications

The differences between an independent contractor and an employee must be clearly articulated. Beginning in 2022, misclassifying employees in New Jersey to avoid paying insurance is officially considered fraud. Penalties for the first violation are up to $5,000 and criminal action is possible.


More Employee Handbook Guidance

If you’ve struggled to get together an Employee Handbook for your organization, or your existing one could really use a fine-tuning, ask your Abacus Payroll special about our affordable HR Help Center. Based on how much of a monthly budget you want to invest in supplemental HR support, you can access Employee handbook templates, an online builder, or a completely custom handbook strategically created by an certified PHR professional. Request a quote today.


The above article was published in the quarterly newsletter for Alloy Silverstein Accountants and Advisors. To read the full Client Alert Spring 2022 issue, visit Alloy Silverstein’s Publications page. 

About the Author: Abacus Payroll

Abacus Payroll, Inc. is a leading provider of payroll solutions for businesses of all sizes. Whether yours is a family-owned small business or a national corporation, we provide payroll, tax and other financial services on time and at an affordable price. Unlike other payroll providers, Abacus Payroll will assign your very own payroll specialist who will understand your payroll needs inside and out. So no more speaking to a different person each time, no more sitting on hold for hours and most importantly no more missed deadlines! Contact us today to see how we can help your business. You can count on us.