Whether it’s a multinational corporation or a small startup, each business must adhere to certain employment laws. But what are the required employment policies? For business owners, proactively keeping up on requirements shows both employees and potential auditors that they’re serious about remaining on the right side of the law.

But what exactly is a “required” employment policy, and how do they differ based on employee location? It’s a lot to track down for an already-busy HR professional. That’s where SixFifty’s Employee Handbook can help.

Policies come in three basic flavors

Employment policies fall into three basic categories: federal, state, and optional. Federal and state policies demonstrate compliance with federal and state employment laws. Optional policies are those which aren’t dictated by any law, but which employers may want to implement for a number of reasons.

Federal employment laws apply nationwide, to every business operating in the United States. They cover the familiar territory that most of us think of when it comes to employment law. (Think: the Family Medical Leave Act and Equal Opportunity Employment.) Because federal employment laws are both well known and broadly implemented, adhering to them should be a top priority for every business.

State employment laws get a little trickier. In most cases, the state employment law where the work is being performed will apply—for instance, an employee working remotely in Montana for a California-based company would pursue an unemployment claim through Montana.

Additionally, some state laws impose more strict requirements than their federal counterparts. On a national level, FMLA applies to companies with fifty or more employees; but underCalifornia’s family and medical leave law, it’s required for any company with five or more employees. Age might factor into the application of state-level laws, too. For instance, some states require meal and rest breaks for all employees, while others require them only for minors.

Drill down one level further and you’ll find that some counties or municipalities have other additional employment laws with which companies need to comply.

Although there’s no law requiring that a company have an employee handbook, the best way to set out the employment laws that companies have to follow is to put them in written policies. And the best way to compile a company’s written policies is in a handbook.

Finally, there are several optional employment policies that, though they may be well established within a certain industry or area, aren’t necessarily required by law. These include dress codes, holidays, drug policies, and several more.

Knowing what federal and state employment laws apply to an organization will help it craft a comprehensive employee handbook with all the policies needed to demonstrate legal compliance. This is especially important for organizations that have a more geographically dispersed workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communicate employment requirements clearly

Some laws, particularly on a federal level, require employees to be notified of their existence in writing; others don’t require any notification or posting (though ignorance of the law is, famously, no excuse). And though employment laws are all publicly available, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to find.

Providing employees with a physical copy of each policy that pertains to their employment would destroy all the forests. But you can gather everything digitally and make it readily available for them to consult. Not only does having the policies close at hand build trust with employees, it can also head off costly misunderstandings before they arise.

And speaking of misunderstandings—some industries are subject to more scrutiny than others, so it makes sense for them to be extra diligent about documentation. Demonstrating a full understanding of every applicable employment policy, as well as keeping them easily accessible to managers and employees, sets you up for success with potential auditors and helps you avoid noncompliance.

SixFifty can take the stress out of required policies

If this all sounds like a lot to manage, in addition to the regular pressures of growing a business, that’s because it is. People make entire careers out of navigating the labyrinthine corridors of employment law as it constantly changes to keep up with evolving legislation.

And because the United States contains such a wide variance in state employment laws—like the difference between Idaho’s few employment regulations, and California’s numerous—recruiting remote talent can turn needlessly daunting.

Fortunately, you don’t need to go it alone. SixFifty’s Employee Handbook provides you with a full list of policies that apply to your workforce, so no one is left guessing what’s required and what isn’t. Once you create an account and answer the same questions a top-tier lawyer would ask you, you’ll get the customized employment documents you need. And SixFifty is constantly keeping up on emerging laws, so you don’t have to.

Ready to get started? Schedule a demo today.