The employee handbook represents a necessary aspect of any small- and mid-sized company. Sometimes referred to as an owner’s or policies and procedures manual, these books are geared toward protecting companies from lawsuits while also putting employees at ease in knowing the precise terms of their employer’s policies.
An effective employee handbook addresses what is important to the company as well as its business objectives. And another crucial aspect is that employees learn what is expected from them and what they can expect of the company. These details may make employees more comfortable, potentially leading to them performing solid work without concerns of unfair treatment. But what are some of the crucial details to include in an employee handbook?
Equal opportunity, pay and benefits
From the get-go, an employee handbook should include terms that are clear, easy to understand and, most importantly, reflect the business’s culture. Here are some of the key topics to address in an employee handbook:
- Equal opportunity and non-discrimination policy: Focusing on how the company deals with discrimination and harassment issues. It also may include a list of accommodations for disabled workers.
- Workers’ compensation policies: If a worker gets hurt, he or she wants to know the options. This is an example in which a company must understand local, state and federal requirements.
- Paid time-off policy: Including vacation, sick leave, medical leave, military leave, crime victims leave, observed holidays (and payment to employees if they work on holidays).
- Employee behavior and code of conduct: Addressing attendance issues, meal breaks and employee conduct.
- Pay and promotions: Addressing matters such as overtime policy, payment frequency, bonus eligibility and the job appraisal process and performance ratings
- Benefits: Explaining the available health, dental and vision care and family medical leave policy for example.
- Complaint-related issues: Describing the steps employees must take to file a formal complaint, and also declaring how an employer addresses such complaints.
The employee handbook should provide a clear picture of the company, what is important to it and represent a true reflection of the business. By focusing on a positive tone, a company also puts employees at ease knowing that fair treatment remains a priority.