Employee Handbooks and IIPPs

Employee Handbooks

A handbook is a compilation of an organization’s employment policies that complies with applicable federal, state and local laws. Although it is not a legally required document, it is a helpful tool to assist with onboarding new employees and a useful guide for managers when situations arise.

No two handbooks we create are the same; our handbooks are fully customized based on each individual client’s culture, policies, size, location, industry, and desired handbook tone. The key topics we include in employee handbooks cover general employment matters, leaves of absence, compensation and timekeeping, benefits, and safety and health policies. Examples of specific policies that we customize for each client include the company’s mission statement and history, employment classifications, medical leave, bereavement leave, punctuality and attendance, lactation breaks and accommodation, company paid time off, remote work policy, bring your own device and drug-free workplace policy.

Frequently Asked Employee Handbook Questions

Do all new businesses need a handbook or when should they be created?

In a perfect scenario, a handbook would be created when your first employee is hired, however, it is never too late to start. We help many clients create their first handbook after being in business for many years and onboarding a full team of employees.

Are handbooks required in CA? What about in other states? How do we handle handbooks for clients in multi-states?

While handbooks are not legally required, they are highly recommended to organize and present key employment-related information to employees. If a handbook is utilized, some states, including California, require certain policies to be included. For organizations with employees based out of multiple states, we suggest creating a base handbook that applies to all employees as well as addendums for each state that only includes policies applicable to employees working in those states. We look at state headcount as well as total employee headcount to evaluate which laws and regulations apply to the organization.

Why is it so important that handbooks are up to date and include all the various necessary components?

A well-written employee handbook can provide legal protection for organizations. However, if the handbook is out of date and includes inaccurate, outdated or missing information, it can also become a liability. We advise reviewing employee handbooks annually to capture recent legislation changes as well as possible changes to employee headcount and worksite locations.

How long is a typical handbook?

A typical employee handbook created by our team ranges from 40-50 pages, however, the total length varies depending on factors including company size, location, industry, and if it incorporates additional company policies, such as travel and expense reimbursement.

Does an attorney or an HR consultant create the handbook?

Our employee handbooks are crafted by our experienced HR consultants using our policies, which have been reviewed by our employment attorney, yet customized for each client based on their needs and preferences.

Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)

An Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) is a written workplace safety program. The eight required elements include: Responsibility, Compliance, Communication, Hazard Assessment, Accident/Exposure Investigation, Hazard Correction, Training and Instruction, and Recordkeeping.

All employers in California, regardless of size or industry, are required by Cal/OSHA to create and implement an effective IIPP. This requirement was introduced in 1991 yet many organizations are under the false impression they are exempt due to size or low-risk industry. While the main elements are consistent for the IIPP, each company’s IIPP should be customized according to their unique workplace hazards and industry risk. Our trained HR Consultants can partner with companies to create an IIPP that not only meets the Cal/OSHA requirements but also is customized to their unique workplace environment, industry, and existing and recommended safety practices and procedures. We also offer to partner with the workers’ compensation carrier to confirm any exemptions and requirements that impact the IIPP and non-emergency workplace procedures and documentation.

Frequently Asked IIPP Questions

How often does an IIPP have to be updated?

An IIPP should be reviewed regularly to ensure the program remains effective as the business evolves. Additionally, it should be updated whenever there are substantial changes to the workplace environment, such as new equipment or toxic substances, a new IIPP administrator is named, after a workplace illness or injury, or if the organization has modified its communication, training or recordkeeping practices or procedures.

How long is an IIPP?

Our standard IIPP is 10-20 pages, which includes the 8 required elements from Cal/OSHA, as well as Emergency and Non-emergency procedures, Code of Safe Practices and appendices of sample checklists, reports and logs.

What happens if I don’t have an IIPP in place?

An organizations top priority should be to provide a safe working environment to ultimately protect their most valuable asset – their employees. If employees are not trained on safe work practices and procedures and provided with the resources, there is a higher likelihood of workplace injuries and illnesses.

In the event Cal/OSHA conducts an inspection, either randomly, after a serious injury or death, or after a complaint, a key document that will be requested to review is the IIPP. If the organization does not have an IIPP or it is found to be incomplete or ineffective, Cal/OSHA may issue substantial citations and fines.

Contact Us

Interested in learning more about our handbook and IIPP services? Contact us to learn more.