An employee handbook should serve several purposes at aA�company. It should make it easy for new employees to learn about the company, it should make company rules and policies clear, communicate company culture and values, and help protect the company from legal issues.
The handbook should also establish a company tone, explain basic information about the company and workplace to help new employees, describe the company mission, goals, and principles. Explain basic company rules, policies, compensation and benefits.
An employee handbook should include a brief introduction stating the purpose of the handbook. After that, it should be broken into several sections that include legal information, and explanation of employee benefits, safety and security information and basic company policies.
Are employee handbooks required by law?
There is no federal law mandating that you have a handbook, specifically. That said, depending on the type of company you have, the size of the company, and the state youa��re in, there may be information you are required to communicate to employees.
Having a handbook that provides everything youa��re legally required to share, along with essential and helpful information for employees, makes a lot of sense.
How to Write Your Employee Handbook – A Section-by-Section Guide
Welcome new employees and provide a description of your company.
Welcome to [company name]! Wea��re glad to have you here.
Wea��ve been in business since [year] and since that time have developed the philosophy that [company philosophy]. Our overriding goal is [your companya��s main goal]. Our mission is [give mission statement].
If youa��re reading this, we think youa��re a good fit for helping us fulfill our mission and achieve our goals.
2. Legal Information
This section contains information regarding federal and state law. Be sure to have someone familiar with how federal and state laws affect your business review this section. Here are essential areas youa��ll want to cover in this section of your handbook.
Exempt v. Non-Exempt
Explain whether or not employees are subject to FLSA rules on overtime work and minimum wage. Wea��ve got more detailed information onA�exempt v. non-exempt statusA�if youa��ve got questions.
Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies
Explain policies on discrimination in the workplace and harassment.
Employee Leave of Absence Policies
Describe company leave policies, making sure they stay within Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rules. Describe how they become eligible, the procedure for going on leave, and the procedure for returning.
This section should include information about how and when workplace injuries should be reported (the answerA�is always a�?right awaya�?). It should also explain when employees will transition back into work, and what happens in cases of fraud.
3. Explanation of Benefits
In this section, youa��ll want to clearly state what benefits employees are eligible for, under what circumstances theya��re eligible, and how to receive them.
These benefits typically include health care, paid time off, 401k plans, and additional benefits such as education reimbursement and gym memberships.
Typically, companies will have full and part time employees, with a different tier of benefits being offered to each. Read more in our article aboutA�part-time employees.
4. Safety and Security
Go over your companya��s basic safety and security policies. Be sure to include information about digital security as well. This should usually be a high-level review, describing the companya��s general safety and security philosophy, and citing federal, state, local, and company safety and security guidelines employees are expected to follow.
5. Basic Company Policies
In this area, youa��ll want to talk about company rules and norms that dona��t fall under federal or state law. These often include:
- Dress code.
- Code of conductA�.
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- Conflict of interest.
- Intellectual property ownership.
- Outside employment.
- Expense reporting.
- Drug use and testing policies.
- Privacy policies for employees and clients.
- Social media policies.
6. Employee Performance
This section oftenA�includes a general overview of expectations and how employees are assessed, along with a description of the employee performance review or performance management process. This is also the section to talk about salary reviews and policy.
7. Discipline and Termination Policy
Outline the discipline procedures at your company. This includes how it progresses, who they can discuss it with, and how theya��re informed of disciplinary actions.
Explain that employees are working a�?at-will.a�? At-will means that they can be terminated for any reason, or no reason. In all states except Montana employees are usually employed at-will, although this can be subject to collective bargaining agreements and other special circumstances.
You can also cause problems with at-will employment if you tell employees that you offer job security or guarantee employment for a period of time.
That should give you all the basic information you need to know to determine if you need an employee handbook, and how to get started on one.