Viewpoint: Implement Global Policies, Not a Global Handbook


Erika C. Collins, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, authored an article in SHRM, titled “Viewpoint: Implement Global Policies, Not a Global Handbook.”

Following is an excerpt:

Most multinational companies should have global employment policies that are lawful and reflect company culture—not a global handbook that dictates exactly what must be done under any circumstances. Employers often would prefer a uniform approach, but uniformity has proven problematic when it comes to certain policies.

I often have received requests from employers for a "global employee handbook." But employee handbooks, at least the way we think of them in the United States, are really a U.S. concept. Some countries, such as Japan, have "work rules," which the labor authority must approve and that cover certain aspects of employment, such as hours of work, notice and severance. The work rules typically do not address everything that usually is in a U.S. handbook.

Thus, preparing a global handbook can be difficult considering that most U.S. employee handbooks cover every aspect of the employee relationship, including equal employment opportunity (EEO); sexual harassment and anti-harassment policies; maternity, paternity and other paid and unpaid leaves; hours of work; meal and rest breaks; protection of information technology (IT) systems and social media usage; other terms and conditions of employment; and benefits.

Related reading:

October 17, 2019: HR PEOPLE + STRATEGY BLOG, “Implement Global Policies, Not a Global Handbook,” by Erika Collins.