Though an employee handbook is not mandated by law, it is in the best interests of the company and the employees to have one in place. State and federal laws dictate issues such as minimum wage, overtime pay, meals and breaks, and jury duty. All of the other policies and procedures, such as travel reimbursement, flexibility, paid time off, and bereavement leave can become lost in translation if there is no designated location for where employees and the employer can reference issues.
An employee handbook allows for consistency, and can further the success of the business by clearly providing standardized guidelines for all workers. The storied history of the company is also a beneficial addition to the handbook. Positive components such as benefits, teamwork, compensation, paid time off policies, and codes of conduct show the company as well-managed, employee friendly, and fair. Though not required, having an employee handbook is highly recommended.
What Information Should the Employee Handbook Contain?
There is a wealth of information that can be included in an employee handbook. Below are a few general topics of which can be expanded in detail as needed by the company:
- Company overview and introduction, including an employee sign-off page as proof of receipt. Other components such as code of conduct, ethics, and confidentiality statement.
- Workplace policies, such as harassment and discrimination issues, EEOC policies, worker’s compensation, and personnel files policies.
- Attendance expectations.
- Conduct expectations, such as a drug-free environment, dress code, and workplace violence.
- Benefits and payroll information
- Holiday, paid time off, sick leave, vacation leave, and so on.
- Electronics guidelines, including phone usage, internet policies, and monitoring.
- Conflict resolution issues, such as termination, discipline, and return of company property.
Who Should Get the Employee Handbook?
All full-time employees should be included in the distribution of the employee handbook. As such, each employee should confirm receipt of the handbook by providing their signature on the employee sign-off page.
How Can I Make Changes to an Existing Handbook?
In the event that you need to modify an existing handbook, it is a good idea to seek the guidance of an experienced employment attorney. Any discrepancy between the outdated material and the newly adopted modifications could pose unwanted issues. Be sure to notify all employees of the changes beforehand, as this could prevent confusion and misunderstanding amongst workers.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
Assembling an employee handbook can be a complex task. An experienced employment lawyer will be able to assist you in drafting the handbook so as to avoid future liability, and also in the procedure of distribution to employees. Should you need to make changes, your lawyer will also help you modify your handbook to reflect your company’s evolving needs.