Should we separate our handbook and manual?

Q. We have an employee manual that is both a handbook and a policy manual rolled into one. Are there reasons to keep these separate?--Sandy, Illinois

A. Quite possibly, yes. First, think about how you use them and whether having one large manual makes updating more burdensome. Also, you want to take steps to ensure that your handbook policies do not create a promise or expectation of continued employment. This typically requires you to clearly and prominently display disclaimers regarding any policies that could be read as promises. But it may also be better to keep handbook policies apart from operating policies to avoid confusion.

Finally, if your manual contains more than just policies--for example, guidelines on how the policies are administered, which are more appropriately HR or management issues--then you may want to separate the two.

Expenses paid to a third party: Still taxable?

Q. Our company has an account with a car service. The car service invoices us directly, so employees aren't reimbursed. Are these amounts still taxable to employees, even though they never receive cash?

A. Maybe. Employees must still satisfy the accountable plan rules in order for any payment made on their behalf to be excluded from their income. Paying the car service's bills essentially functions as an advance to employees. They still need to substantiate...

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