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Employee Handbook: Why You Need One

An employee handbook is critical to running a successful small business. Take a look at some of the ways you could benefit from creating and implementing an accurate, documented employee handbook:

  • Gives you a place to clearly define employee expectations as well as company policies.
  • Helps you avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications between you and your employees.
  • Protects your company against potential lawsuits.
  • Saves you time because it answers employee questions about your company's procedures.

 

Get It Done Right

Employee handbook development is one of our specialties, and we can help you write one that communicates in a positive, employee-friendly style, yet covers all the legal bases. Your handbook should be developed with the help of a professional and updated at least once a year, or whenever policy changes occur. Call us for the professional expertise you need. If you already have an employee handbook in place, give it a good review and compare it to the below list to make sure all of these important aspects are addressed, and contact us with any questions.

 

What Does Your Employee Handbook Need to Include?

  • General information: Policies covering employment eligibility, job classifications and postings, introductory periods, termination/resignation procedures, transfers/relocations and union information, if applicable.
  • Anti-discrimination policies: State that your company unequivocally expects all employees to comply with laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind.  Address process for reporting harassment claims or concerns, and requests for ADAAA disability accommodations.
  • Compensation: Confirm your adherence to legal obligations under wage and hour laws regarding overtime, hours worked, time-keeping process, salary increases, pay schedules. Address no off the clock work to be performed, and any process approval for overtime.  Provide a process for employees to address issues with their paychecks and hours paid.
  • Employee benefits: Cover general overview of benefit programs and basic eligibility, but don’t try to include too many details of your plans. Instead, refer your employees to the plan documents for more information.
  • Employee leave: Document your company’s leave policies, especially those legally required for family medical leave (if applicable), jury duty, and military leave.. Clearly detail your vacation, holiday, and sick policies,  A well written policy can eliminate a lot of employee misunderstandings that can lead to employee relation issues and this is often a hot button issue.
  • Standards of dress and conduct: State your expectations specifically to avoid problems. Document your expectations of ethical behavior, and remind them of their legal obligations, especially if your business is regulated by the government.
  • Work schedules: State general process for lunch and breaks.  If you use a time-clock, clarify when employees must clock in and out. Describe your expectations about attendance, punctuality, and reporting absences.  It is also helpful to define your policy on weather-related closings.
  • Safety and security: Document your company’s safety and security policies, including compliance with OSHA laws that require employees to report any problems or incidents to management.
  • Confidentiality & Non-disclosure agreements: If you need to protect trade secrets or proprietary information, state in your handbook that employees must sign nondisclosure and conflict-of-interest statements. Reiterate your expectations about confidentiality.
  • Technology: Your handbook should  outline your expectations regarding use of technology.  Reiterate loading outside software or devices, address cell phone camera use, protecting information, appropriate email use just to name a few.  Your business may have other unique requirements that should be outlined including HIPAA, etc.
  • Distribution: You should include an acknowledgement form, to be signed by each employee and included in each personnel file, which confirms that they understand and agree to abide by all stated policies.

 

If you need further help with your employee handbook, feel free to contact us.

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