While you may be an expert in your field, human resources may not come naturally to physical therapists. It’s crucial to have an employee handbook for your office to ensure there are clear rules and guidelines for conduct and to mitigate any potential issues. As soon as you have any employees, you need to have a handbook. However, as your practice grows and changes, you must take another look at your employee rules to ensure they’re still relevant.
What should go into an employee handbook?
A well-written employee handbook clearly lays out your expectations for workers. Business owners must comply with equal opportunity laws, which aim to prevent harassment and discrimination. One of the most important sections in your employee handbook should cover these laws and how both the employees and employer are expected to comply with them, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Physical therapists must comply with all state and federal employment laws regarding wages and hours.”
Clearly outline your practice’s compensation structure. Physical therapists must comply with all state and federal employment laws regarding wages and hours. In your employee handbook, explain to your workers how your practice will handle federal and state deductions, voluntary deductions, company benefits deductions, potential overtime pay, paycheck schedules and paid time off. In addition, tell them how frequently they can expect performance reviews and how to qualify for salary increases.
Describe worker schedules and the standards of conduct you expect employees to maintain. This can prevent you from being liable for any workplace issues and informs employees of their rights. Companies of any size can be sued, so you are at risk even if you have only a handful of employees.
How do you know if your employee handbook needs to be updated?
All businesses change over time, including physical therapy clinics. As your practice grows and takes on new employees, the same rules may not be applicable. Not only do clinics change, but also employment and payroll tax laws shift. Reviewing your employee handbook once per year ensures you stay in compliance with state and federal regulations.
You also need to audit your policies to ensure you’re enforcing them. Employee rules of conduct won’t do much good if no one enforces them. The reason employers often don’t enforce their policies is because employee handbooks sometimes lay out step-by-step processes, and these may not be applicable to every situation with individual employees. It may be a better idea to create policies that offer some flexibility so managers can decide how to handle situations based on an employee’s work history, the frequency of the problem and the severity of each occurrence.
If a section is unclear when you review it, rewrite the entire section to make it less ambiguous.
Employee handbooks should always be given to new workers when they start. You can ask employees to sign a form to acknowledge they received a copy of the clinic’s rules and regulations.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.