An employee handbook is an important part of having employees. It sets the rules and provides a basis for the culture you'd like to maintain within your organization.
Your employee handbook protects your employees and your business. You can outline specific expectations in your handbook including your company policies, employee time off, workplace conditions and behavior, benefits, emergency plans, laws, security, overtime rules, discipline, and safety.
At OMS, our HR professionals can help you create your first employee handbook or review an existing one to assist you in achieving a top-notch detailed handbook to guide your business and set you up for success.
- Have your handbook reviewed by legal counsel to ensure it does not contain unlawful provisions or language that could be interpreted as creating an employment contract.
- Make sure your handbook clearly states that it is not a contract and that the employment relationship is “at will” and can be ended at any time with or without cause.
- Include a statement that [c_officialname] has the right to revise policies at any time.
- Include an effective date on each page of the employee handbook and include a statement that the current handbook replaces any previous handbook.
- Require employees to sign a statement acknowledging that they have received the handbook and understand its provisions. Keep a copy in each employee’s personnel file.
- Make sure that your handbook includes a list of offenses which are subject to discipline (but also note it is not a comprehensive list).
- Be sure to include an email, voicemail and internet usage policy.
- Include a section concerning equal employment opportunity and harassment.
- General language gives you flexibility and allows your handbook to be changed easily.
- Common trouble areas include policies on discipline/progressive discipline, layoffs, severance pay, probationary periods, performance evaluations, work rules and employee benefits. If you choose to include policies on these topics, legal counsel should carefully review them.
- Make sure that the documentation within your organization is consistent.
- Define the terms that you use, such as “excessive tardiness,” “insubordination,” etc.
- Make sure supervisors understand that their discretion is limited and that they cannot modify the handbook. Consider supervisor training sessions on policies such as FMLA, ADA, harassment, employee discipline, interviews, etc.
- Review your handbook annually to make changes and then have legal counsel review those provisions. Give employees notice and have them sign off on significant changes.
This HR Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2013, 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.