Q&A: HR Documentation

Creative Business Solutions is honored to be included in TK Magazine's latest Spring 2014 issue! In this issue, Team CBS discusses specific HR documentation which is critical to a business, and provides insight into good business practices regarding HR documentation. Please read our Q&A below, or click here to view the article in TK Magazine's Spring 2014 issue.

1. Why does a business need an Employee Handbook? Is it a legal requirement?

Although a company is not legally required to distribute an employee handbook, it is a good business practice to follow. Not only does an employee handbook provide employees general information regarding company policies, procedures and benefits, it also outlines company expectations and provides information related to company culture. Creating and enforcing a well-written employee handbook provides a solid foundation so employees have a reference point for important employment information. The most critical component of an employee handbook is an acknowledgement form for employees to sign and confirm their understanding of the information within the handbook.

2. What is the importance of having job descriptions for the employees of a company?

Job descriptions provide many benefits to both the employee and employer. Major elements of a job description include the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status (exempt or non-exempt), the physical requirements of the position, the responsibilities of the position and the minimum qualifications required to perform the job duties. Job descriptions may also include the direct report supervisor, work schedule and, most importantly, an acknowledgement of understanding requiring the employee's signature. Not only do job descriptions provide specific information to employees regarding their position, they may also be utilized during performance evaluations to measure overall performance outcomes specifically tied to the responsibilities of the position. A good job description is a win-win for both the employer and the employee.

3. When I hire a new employee, is there a checklist of the "must haves" with HR Documentation?

The required documents may vary from one company to another. Various forms employers should always provide to employees for completion include, but are not limited to, offer letter, employee data and emergency contact information, job description acknowledgement form, employee handbook acknowledgement form, benefit enrollment and/or waiver form, required employer model notice under the Affordable Care Act, W-4, K-4, direct deposit or required payroll information and the federal I-9 form with required forms of employee identification.

4. My personnel files are a mess! What is the legally proper system of what to keep and to not keep, and where to file it?

Although there is not a legal requirement in terms of personnel files and employee records, we recommend our clients create a personnel file checklist to assist in properly maintaining a clean and orderly filing system. Each employee should have a general personnel file and a confidential personnel file. The general personnel file should contain information such as performance evaluations and disciplinary documentation, which should be filed by date with the most recent information located on top. All documents containing protected and/or non-job related information such as date of birth, marital status, dependent information, SSN's, medical information, immigration status, national origin, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, criminal history, financial history, etc., should be filed separately from a personnel file. Personnel files should be filed in a secure location at all times. Only a select few individuals, such as a direct supervisor, should have access to an employee personnel file. The Human Resources Department and the President/CEO of the company should be the only individuals who have access to an employee's confidential personnel file.

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