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By producing an employee handbook, your company may improve communication with its workers, assure legal compliance, and potentially even avert legal complications.

Employee Handbook

An employee handbook may be a great tool for informing workers about the advantages of working for your firm and what is expected of them, as well as safeguarding your organisation against employee-related litigation and claims.

What Is the Purpose of an Employee Handbook?

The more workers a company has, the more difficult it is to communicate with them. A well-written employee handbook may aid in this communication by ensuring that all workers get the essential comprehensive information in a consistent way.

An employee handbook may define employee perks, inform employees about what is expected of them, and improve communication with management. It also displays the company’s aim for strong employee relations and offers a place for workers to swiftly acquire answers whenever concerns occur.

The Law and Employers

Knowing the regulations that apply to employers is an essential component of operating a company with workers. For example, you must follow regulations concerning tax withholding, workers compensation, unemployment compensation, minimum wage, overtime pay, nondiscrimination, sexual harassment, and accommodating employees with impairments. Employees may also be required by state or federal legislation to take time off for jury duty, court appearances, voting, and military service.

Numerous federal and state legislation may have an impact on the employer-employee relationship. Their application to your firm may be determined by criteria such as the type of your operations and the number of staff you have. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), for example, applies to businesses with at least 50 workers.

Such rules may require legal notifications to be posted in visible areas in the workplace, in which case the material in the employee handbook is not required to be duplicated. You may decide to do so, however, if you want to give your staff with a single location to seek for all relevant employment information.

Employee Agreements

You may choose to engage into a formal employee agreement with some, or all, of your workers in addition to an employee handbook. This may be required if you want the employee to be legally committed to secrecy, nondisclosure, noncompete, and intellectual property ownership restrictions.

Some businesses utilise a single, all-inclusive employment agreement. Separate employment, confidentiality, nondisclosure, and noncompete agreements may be used by other businesses.

Employee Handbook Contents

The length, style, and complexity of employee handbooks varies. However, basics for an employee handbook include the following statements:

The employee handbook is not a contract of employment.

Employment is “at-will,” which means that either the employer or the employee may end the relationship at any moment, with or without cause.

Your organisation is an equal opportunity employer with a zero-tolerance policy for workplace discrimination and harassment.

In the case of a conflict with the manual, the conditions of any employment contract or special benefit plan instrument shall take precedence.

Changes to the handbook may be changed at any moment, with or without notification to the employee.

Other topics that are often discussed in employee handbooks include:

A summary of the company’s purpose, principles, and philosophy.

Work hours, days of operation, and paid holidays at the company

Annual performance evaluations and improvement plans are examples of policies and processes for assessing employee job performance

Policies governing vacation time, as well as paid and unpaid absence for reasons like as sickness, bereavement, and other personal reasons

Use of corporate property that is allowed and not acceptable

Confidentiality obligations

Outside-of-the-company employment policies

Policies and procedures for handling grievances

The dress code

Prohibition of the use of alcohol or drugs in the workplace

Guidelines for social media usage and content

Notifications regarding particular legal and ethical issues relating to government control of your company

Disciplinary rules and procedures, which may indicate what precise measures may be done for particular policy infractions as well as repeated offences.

A list of employee perks, however benefit specifics are normally specified in the benefit plan paperwork.

Any of these or other topics may be addressed extensively in the handbook, or they can be summarised in the handbook and explored in more depth in a separate publication. For example, the handbook may simply state that the employee would be subjected to an annual performance review, with the criteria and processes for the evaluation outlined in the individual’s employment contract or another document.

It is also usual practise to have the employee sign an employee handbook acknowledgment form when the employee receives a copy of the handbook. This will prevent the employee from subsequently claiming that they were unaware of the handbook if disciplinary action is required.

The Drawbacks of an Employee Handbook

There is always the possibility that a court may rule that the employee handbook is legally enforceable and will punish the corporation for failing to implement the rules and procedures described in the handbook.

For example, if the handbook states that a written warming is the consequence of a first-time offence, a court may rule that you were incorrect to terminate an employee. It is especially important to have an attorney evaluate your handbook if a thorough and progressive employee punishment policy is to be provided.

Creating and updating an employee handbook may be a time-consuming task. Such time and effort may not be feasible for a small business with a few workers. Creating an employee handbook, on the other hand, may be a vital component of your company’s strategy to acquire and keep competent staff. Even if you just have a few workers today, you may establish a simple employee handbook that can be updated as your staff expands.