The employee handbook remains an important tool for businesses to define their policies and procedures. It’s a way to protect the company and minimize the risk of potential lawsuits.
Along with business objectives, the handbook also addresses expectations that the company has for its employees, while also letting employees know what to expect from the company. It is important that the handbook provide that it is not a contract. The company can change any of the policies in the handbook at any time.
Among the key areas to be addressed by the handbook are the following:
- Equal opportunity and non-discriminatory policies: Clear explanations on how a company addresses harassment and discrimination matters are necessary.
- Employee code of conduct/Employee Discipline: Dress code, meal breaks, attendance and tardiness, and conflicts of interest get attention here.
- Pay, performance and promotions: Topics addressed here may include frequency of pay, bonus eligibility and overtime policy, along with the performance evaluation process.
- Benefits: Employees must know about the available benefits related to health, dental and vision care along with parental and medical leave policies.
- Paid time off rules: An explanation of matters such as vacation, observed holidays, sick leave, medical leave, military leave and volunteer time is important.
- Use of the Company’s computer and phone systems/internet/social media/physical searches: It is important that employees understand that these systems and facilities belong to the company and the employee has no “right of privacy” in their use.