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In the Bloom with Maria Shepherd: It’s time to think about creating or updating an employee handbook to help protect your business

In the bloom with MariaAs a Hortica Retail Sales Specialist, I’m always surprised to hear when a client doesn’t have a detailed employee handbook or isn’t aware of basic human resources protocols—especially in this lawsuit-happy business climate. Whether you’re insured by Hortica or another insurance company, you should take the time to update your employee handbook and labor law tool kit—or develop one for your shop or studio. Insurance coverage is also something to consider. We take a look at both.

While there’s a variety of ways to construct an employee handbook, there are some must-have topics, including:

  • Welcome to the company: This includes your mission, values or code of honor, and expected employee behaviors.
  • Employment policies: Specify guidelines on employment-at-will, equal employment opportunity, and immigration.
  • Conduct in the workplace: Include topics like harassment, ethics, and violence in the workplace.
  • Workplace policies: Share company-specific information like attendance, dress code, social media guidelines, fraternization, and standards of conduct.
  • Benefits: Showcase what benefits you offer, like a health plan and time off.
  • Safety in the workplace: Include workers’ compensation and safety guidelines.

Also, make sure the employee acknowledges the handbook in writing. That way, you’ll know they understand your policies. And be sure to revisit your handbook on a regular basis to update your policies—adding new ones and altering or deleting those that no longer apply.

Consider EPLI coverage

In addition to a handbook, insurance can also help protect your business. Hortica offers employment-related practices insurance (EPLI) coverage. As part of our program, you receive access to the Hortica® Employer Resource Center—a tool to help you proactively manage workforce risks associated with your business.

This free, online tool offers several resources you can use—including unlimited, direct access to employment law attorneys to receive confidential, documented responses to your organization’s specific questions on a variety of topics, including:

  • A building tool to customize your employee handbook for your business operations and specific state requirements.
  • Advice on important human resource issues:
    • Discrimination
    • Termination and discharge
    • Disability
    • Employee benefits
    • Time off (vacation or sick time)
  • Live and recorded webinars spanning a variety of content—many qualifying for continuing education credits for human resources personnel
  • Proactive regulatory updates, tailored to your selected preferences
  • Supervisor and employee online training courses, such as sexual harassment prevention

To get started, create a login username and password and complete the registration process at our Employer Resource Center.

Talk with your Hortica representative about this or any other concerns you might have about your policies and coverages. They’ll be happy to sit down with you and make sure you have the protection you need.

Related links:

For more information on protecting your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.

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