Writing An Employee Handbook: 10 Essential Things To Include

Written by Christi Hayes and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

An employee handbook provides you with an ideal method of introducing new employees to your organization. It also offers gives all employees a place to find answers to questions about what the organization expects from them and what they should expect from the organization.

Because a handbook can have legal implications in the event of a dispute, such as when an employee violates a company policy, care should be taken in its preparation. There is no universal template for an employee handbook, but here are 10 essential things you might want to include in yours.

  1. General information about your organization

An overview of your organization, the industry in which it conducts business and general information about the categories of jobs that employees fill should be included. You could also provide information about hiring and termination procedures and procedures for applying for other positions within the organization.

  1. Work hours and how to report them

Include a section about the organization's work hours and information about employee schedules. Be clear about the procedures employees must follow when reporting to work at the beginning of their workday.

  1. Standards of conduct

This is where you should specify the expectations you have of your employees regarding the following areas:

.   Dress code

.   Ethical standards

.   Rules related to how employees are allowed to interact with each other and with customers

  1. Compliance with anti-discrimination laws and regulations

State and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the workplace should be explained in detail in the employee handbook with emphasis on the role each employee plays in ensuring compliance of your organization.

  1. How and when employees are paid

Let employees know if they are paid each week or twice a month, the deductions that are made for state and federal taxes, deductions for voluntary contributions to benefit plans and other information about payroll that employees should know.

  1. Safety policies and procedures for reporting accidents

Safety policies should be clearly spelled out in detail as should the procedures employees are required to follow to report accidents or breaches of safety procedures.

  1. Technology use and security

Be specific about your company's policies on computer use and the protection of proprietary software and other technology.

  1. Benefits

This section of the employee handbook should describe benefit programs, such as health insurance and retirement programs, and describe the eligibility requirements for each.

  1. Vacation and leave policies

Whether you provide them because of state and federal laws or because it is simply your company's policy, vacation days, family medical leave, military leave, jury duty, holidays, sick days and bereavement time off should be spelled out in the handbook.

  1. Conflicts of interest and nondisclosure policies

Describe your company's policy regarding nondisclosure and conflicts of interest and explain your expectations for each employee.

These are only a few of the many things you could include in your organization's employee handbook. Whether you have a large corporation with thousands of employees or a small, local business with a few workers, an employee handbook helps to avoid misunderstandings about policies and procedures.

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