Creating an Employee Handbook to Minimize Future Headaches

The employee handbook or manual is quite possibly one of the most important documents a company can have. The employee handbook will outline all of the company’s policies, procedures, safety guidelines, payroll, employee discipline actions and much more. If your company does not have an employee handbook, consider creating one as soon as possible in order to protect the company and the employees from any issues.

Here are some quick guidelines for developing a legally compliant employee handbook for your organization.

Explain Hours of Operation and Payroll

One of the most important things you need to include in an employee handbook is the hours of operation of the company and how payroll works. Outline the normal business hours for weekdays and weekends where customers/clients can access the company and outline hours where employees are still at work, but not dealing with the public.

Remember that the payroll process must also be discussed in the employee handbook. Inform employees as to how they will be paid, how often and if they need to submit timesheets in order to be paid.

What is the Company Structure?

What is the structure of your company? Who is in charge of the entire company? Who is in charge of individual departments? All of this needs to be outlined in the employee handbook so employees are not confused about who they should report to for issues and questions. This section of the handbook should also discuss the mission of the company and its nature of business. The handbook also needs a disclaimer that says the presence of it does not mean an offer of employment has been extended.

Discipline Issues

When disciplinary issues arise at your company involving employees, there needs to be a policy in place or a precedence set on how to deal with such issues. This can be done using the employee handbook. Outline what it would take for an employee to put placed on probation and what the length of the probation would be. Also, explain employee suspensions, letters in their personnel files and even demotions.

Keep in mind that a section of your handbook should also be devoted to employee termination, should an issue ever reach that level. This clause can protect the organization from wrongful termination lawsuits in the future.

What Benefits Does the Company Offer?

Does your company offer employees benefits and other perks? If so, these need to be outlined in the employee handbook. Make sure you define when an employee is eligible for benefits and how they can acquire the perks offered. Also, explain how the employees can sign-up for benefits once they are eligible and who to seek out for help in doing so if any problems arise.
It is important that you run the employee handbook by your company’s lawyer in order to avoid any legal issues and to ensure that you are following all state and federal regulations. The employee handbook should be part of the solution, not part of the problem.