Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is a fundamental tool if you have employees. Ask a HR professional if an employee handbook is required and they might be have trouble articulating why, as having one is just common sense. That same HR professional might even turn the question around and ask why an employer would not take a simple step to communicate company rules or protect themselves from lawsuits.

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Employers use an employee handbook to communicate expectations. Employees can reference the handbook for questions on what the company expects in terms of a dress code. In fact, the company culture may be codified in the handbook. Besides expectations, company rules are also a standard part of any handbook. An example might be eligibility for benefits or vacation time. If these things are in the handbook, many questions can be quickly answered. Having it in writing prevents misunderstandings.

Beyond communication, employee handbooks note how employers comply with labor laws. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to employers with more than 50 employees. This act requires a leave policy in the employee handbook.


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You might need at-will employment explicitly specified in your handbook depending on your business type and state. An employee handbook also serves as a defense against unemployment claims and lawsuits. For example, an unemployment claim may be granted if the employer does not have a drug testing policy and they are terminated for a failed drug test. Defending a claim can also prove difficult if  there is no harassment policy in place or a process for reporting and investigating harassment. It’s important to remember that civil penalties are not generally limited by statute.

Employee handbooks provide consistency and lay out the rules employees are expected to follow. Having an employee handbook is table stakes if you hire employees.

Gain control, reduce turnover and cultivate success through an informative and comprehensive employee handbook.


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