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Employee Handbook Program

You undoubtedly have heard of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10. Act 10 would eliminate nearly all collective bargaining for public sector employees. Public employers would only be permitted to bargain on total base wages. Prohibited subjects of bargaining would include everything but total base wages.

The timing of the impact of Act 10 will depend on the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement currently in place and events in Madison. Currently, it is expected that Act 10s provisions will be incorporated within Governor Walkers pending Budget Bill and will take effect by at least June 30, 2011. If this occurs, provisions within collective bargaining agreements will be void upon their expiration, including provisions setting forth the rights, duties, and benefits of union employees. As a result, public employers will be required to adopt policies and/or draft employee handbooks to take the place of the provisions that were typically addressed in their collective bargaining agreements. Act 10 also specifies that public employers create a civil service system or grievance procedure addressing employee discipline, employee discharge, and workplace safety issues.

No two public employers are identical and, therefore, personnel policies/employee handbook provisions should be unique to the employers operations. Adopting a one size fits all model handbook may not be workable or in the best interest of particular employers as such an approach will certainly not incorporate the employers specific public policy choices or the nuances of their operations. Rather, a review of each employers specific policies and the provisions included within its current collective bargaining agreements should be conducted and their substantive and unique terms incorporated within the personnel policies/employee handbook as appropriate. In addition, individuals in charge of developing new personnel policies and/or an employee handbook must ensure that the provisions in those materials comply with applicable law.

Substantive provisions within personnel policies and/or collective bargaining agreements that would normally be included in the personnel policies and/or employee handbook include:

Fringe Benefits.

Work Rules/Code of Conduct.

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Workers' Compensation Coverage
  • Vacation
  • Holidays
  • Personal Days
  • Sick Leave Days
  • Bereavement Leave Days
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Longevity
  • Dress Codes
  • Sexual Harassment/Non-Discrimination
  • Violence in the Workplace
  • Affirmative Action
  • Political Activities
  • Union Activities
  • Smoking
  • Bullying
  • Drug/Alcohol Use and Testing
  • Workplace Safety
  • Attendance/Absenteeism/Tardiness
  • Nepotism

Premium Pay and Payment for Hours of Work.

Work Issues.

  • Work Schedules
  • Break/Lunch Times & Pay
  • Overtime Pay
  • Call-In Pay
  • Standby Pay
  • Shift Differential
  • Flex Time
  • Compensatory Time Off
  • Job Descriptions
  • Payroll Procedures
  • Job Postings
  • Job Assignments
  • Job Transfers
  • Job Sharing
  • Layoff/Recall

Leaves of Absences.

  • Extended Medical Family Leave
  • Extended Unpaid Personal Leave
  • Jury Duty
  • Military Leave

Ruder Ware is prepared to assist you in transitioning from your union contracts to personnel policies and/or an employee handbook which set forth employee working conditions, and your employment policies and procedures. Our program offers the following:

  • Present a list of possible provisions to be included within the new personnel policies/employee handbook from which you can select those applicable and/or desired by you.
  • Review current employment related policies, manuals, handbooks, and collective bargaining agreements for purposes of incorporating provisions within the new personnel policies/handbook.
  • Make recommendations in regard to changes to current provisions and new provisions that should be adopted.
  • Provide model core policies (e.g., discrimination, affirmative action, etc.) at no cost.
  • Incorporate a model grievance procedure (available now) within the personnel policies/employee handbook as required by law.
  • Analyze and determine what total base wages will mean for you or purposes of future collective bargaining.
  • Complete the personnel policies/employee handbook for your final review and approval.
  • Provide subsequent follow up advice after implementation of the new personnel policies/employee handbook to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Provide a cost-free workshop after implementation of the personnel policies/employee handbook that will be conducted jointly with other public employers that have utilized the service to address any lingering concerns or questions.

As an added service our firm offers no cost electronic legal updates to all interested business professionals.

As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, and Trusts & Estates.