Do nonprofits need to update their employee handbooks?

Do nonprofits need to update their employee handbooks?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Non-Profit Organizations

If you work for a nonprofit organization, you may wonder if your employee handbook is up to date with the latest laws and best practices. An employee handbook is a document that outlines the policies, rules and benefits of working for your nonprofit. It also communicates your mission, vision and values of the organization to your staff. But, do they need to be updated?

Yes, they need updates

An employee handbook can help nonprofits avoid legal disputes, foster a positive work culture and clarify expectations and responsibilities. However, an employee handbook is not a static document that can be written once and forgotten. It needs to be reviewed and revised regularly to reflect changes in the law, your organization and the sector.

Common updates for nonprofits

Employment laws are evolving quickly, especially in the areas of anti-discrimination and wage and hour regulations. Nonprofits need to be aware of these changes and update their employee handbooks accordingly.


Nonprofits should update their anti-discrimination policies to reflect the recent guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Supreme Court on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The EEOC has stated that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Supreme Court has affirmed this interpretation in its landmark ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County in 2020. Nonprofits should ensure that their anti-discrimination policies cover all protected classes under federal, state, and local laws, and that they provide a safe and respectful work environment for all employees.

Wage and hour

Nonprofits should review their wage and hour policies to ensure they are compliant with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and any applicable state or local laws. The Act covers most employers, and it establishes minimum standards for pay and records.

Nonprofits should pay attention to the classification of their employees as exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay, as well as the calculation of regular rate of pay for overtime purposes. Nonprofits should also be aware of any changes in the minimum wage rates or exemptions in their jurisdictions.