What is an Employee Handbook?
An employee handbook basically is a document that outlines the policies, rules as well as expectations of a company for its employees. It is also referred to as a staff handbook or employee manual. An employee handbook also lists out what an employee should expect from its employer. It is generally handed out to a new hire along with a form that they need to sign. The form acts a proof that they have read through the handbook and have no objection to the terms.
Why use it?
Knowing your company’s rules and policies are significant for your employees. As such, developing an employee handbook portrays to the employees that the company follows undeviating policies for each employee. It implies that the same guidelines and rules will apply to all employees and everyone is treated equally. Employee handbooks thus help promote a productive and positive work environment in companies, free of harmful or improper conduct.
Things to be included in an Employee Handbook:
Some of the crucial sections that companies must include in their respective employee handbooks include:
The handbook should consist of a segment on local, state and federal laws that your company follows. Cover your company’s employment opportunity management and drug, alcohol, and harassment policies as well.
Code of conduct:
This section outlines how your staff should dress, behave as well as represent your company. A company’s ‘code of conduct’ could include an array of things like workplace safety and dress code. For instance, you may want a professional business outfit. So, ensure to list down the dress code you expect from your employees in the ‘code of conduct’ segment of your employee handbook.
Incorporating a section based on your company’s attendance and time policy is essential. The employees must know the various rules on holidays, unexcused absences and rest breaks.
Time off policy:
The time off policy segment should be listed under the attendance section. Be sure to include vacation time or PTO (paid time off) policy in the employee handbook. Explain how much vacation or PTO time an employee can receive, how they can schedule their time off and the PTO approval policies. This section should also include other kinds of leaves, such as sick leave, bereavement leave, etc.
All employees wish to know the payment structure of a company. So, clarify how often you pay your employees and the no. of pay periods your company has in a year. Make sure to even include your company’s overtime policy.
Offering benefits can enhance employee engagement and retention. So, list down small employee benefits in the handbook to help the employee know the benefits that are being offered to them like retirement funds, employee discounts, etc.
You should make employees sign down an acknowledgment to ensure they understood everything listed in the employee handbook. Ask your employees to return back the penned acknowledgment after reading the handbook. Maintain two separate copies of it: one will remain with you and one with the employee. This form will help you in case you happen to fall into some legal dispute.