Many employers hand their employees an employment handbook only to see them thumb through it to assess its length before placing it in a drawer, never to pick it up again. It leaves many employers wondering if there’s any value in drafting such a document if their workers aren’t even going to read it.
There are important reasons that you need to have an employee handbook. In the long run, it can help you avoid confusion, legal action and other problems as your business operates.
What information you must put in your employee handbook
Every employee handbook must include a description of the laws or regulations by which your industry or company is bound. You’ll want to ensure that your manual covers all the different cities where you maintain a base of operation as rules and laws can vary by the area.
The DOL requires you to put a disclaimer in your employee manual letting them know that you plan to abide by state and federal anti-discrimination laws in all aspects of the employment process. It’s also necessary for you to detail what the Family Medical Leave Act and any state equivalents are when drafting your employee handbook.
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with local regulations to see whether they require you to detail what happens if an employee needs to take leave after becoming a crime victim, to breastfeed, for jury duty or to fulfill your military service obligations as well.
What information you may want to include in your employee handbook
Including details in your employee manual about what constitutes sexual harassment, how your workers should report it and the steps you will take to investigate allegations should all be detailed in your employee handbook. You should cover what happens if employees violate this or any other company policies outlined in the manual.
You may want to place an issued date on any manual that you draft along with a disclaim letting your employees know that this latest version supersedes all previous ones. You may want to include a new acknowledgment form for employees to sign as well.
Knowing what you need to or should include in this manual can be challenging. An attorney will know what’s mandatory and what’s advisable to protect your interests.