Many employers take time to draft their employee handbook only to see their workers take it and read a few pages then stow it away in a drawer. Most employees don’t ever take another look at it again — until there is a problem.
This often happens when someone is told that they violated a policy or they need to see how they should handle a situation if a problem arises. Every employer should have a well-written employee handbook in place for the above-referenced reasons. It sets the ground rules for how your workplace functions and may aid you in avoiding potential litigation.
The U.S. Department of Labor requires you to include certain details in an employee handbook. You may include others to protect your company’s interests.
Details you must definitely include in your employee handbook
You should take time to learn about the local, state and federal laws that apply to your industry and company. You should then clearly state in a disclaimer in your employee handbook that you plan to abide by all of them.
One important law that you’ll want to be clear about supporting is equal employment opportunity laws that prohibit workplace discrimination. Another one is the Family Medical Leave Act.
You should also include any local or state statutes related to worker rights if activated by the military, their right to express milk post-partum, entitlement to serve jury duty and their ability to take leave after falling victim to a crime.
Other details employee handbooks should include
Your employee handbook should be divided into department-specific sections if different rules apply to different sectors in your business. You should also include an effective date so that employees can track which version of the handbook is the most recent.
It’s also important that you always have your employees sign an acknowledgment receipt confirming they received the handbook. This may help you in dealing with liability issues should they arise in the future.
Getting started on your employee handbook
Drafting an employee handbook can seem like a daunting process, especially if you want to ensure that it covers all your bases. An attorney can help identify the laws that apply to your line of work or industry and advise you of all the necessary details you should include in this handbook.