• An Overly Detailed Discipline Procedure …  Instead use a cautionary phrase such as “Violation of this policy may lead to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.”
  • Not Controlling Meal and Rest Periods … We should not be interfering with an employee’s ability to take their required meal and rest period breaks.
  • Not Controlling Overtime … Does your handbook state the employee cannot work overtime without prior authorization?  If so, how do you handle a situation when an employee does work unauthorized overtime.
  • Improper Deductions and Proper Reimbursements … Does your policy include “disciplinary” steps if receipts are submitted late?  Are you following through with the disciplinary action?
  • Putting a Cap on Medical Leaves … Keep flexible leave policies that make clear each situation will be evaluated individually.
  • Use it or Lose it Vacation Policies … In California this cannot happen because vacation and paid time off are considered vested wages.  The policy can however state that vacation time ceases to accrue after a certain period of time.  It can be 1.25% times the annual accrual but cannot be just one year.
  • Overly Broad Electronic Communication Policies …You do not want to eliminate electronic communication policies entirely.  You do want to inform employees they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in documents and other communications (such as text messages or voicemails) they create with the employer’s resources, including electronic resources.
  • A Rigid Harassment Prevention Policy … Just be careful in the wording when defining behavior that violates the policy.
  • Over- or Under-Acknowledging … If you state the employee has read the handbook be sure you have allowed them the time to do so.  Most importantly, and acknowledgment is a key place to reiterate the concept they are “at-will employees” and what that means.
  • Not Reviewing/Revising the Handbook Regularly … Employment laws change frequently so your handbook should also.
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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

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