What Should and Should not be Included in an Employment Handbook

Author: Gayla R. Sherry
Employee handbook communicates compliance with laws. With the distribution of handbooks, employees are more likely to be aware of your expectations and understand the rules of the company, including day-to-day guidance. These handbooks could be a means to communicate benefits and leave provisions, thus reducing the number of questions that employees are likely to ask. It could also be an “affirmative defense” to litigation. Here are a few factors that should be/shouldn’t be added in an employment handbook.
Employee Benefits
The employee benefits include social security, holidays, vacation, workers’ compensation and investment plans.
Standards of Conduct
The standards of conduct to be included in the employee handbook are: professional code of ethics, drug and alcohol abuse and testing, electronic communications, social media and networking, employment of former employees, employment of relatives, consensual romantic relationships, facilities, equipment, intellectual property, health and safety, responses to media inquiries, expense reimbursement, background and credit checks, references, resignations or terminations.
Preparing an Employee Handbook
Before preparing an employee handbook, the employer must determine policies to include, applicable laws – employer size, company culture, choose format, decide who will prepare, research specific language for policies, government websites, private and public websites, internet search. Have an employment law attorney review and approve the handbook before presenting it to board or employees. If possible, choose an attorney who would likely represent you in employment litigation.

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