There are those employers who absolutely believe that having an employee handbook in place is an absolute liability. They believe this because they heard from a “friend” or advisor that they are bad to have or they had a handbook that was poorly written and it got them into trouble. Nothing is further from the truth and having an effective employee handbook in place does work toward your benefit.
One of the problems is that employers will take a shortcut and purchase some online do it yourself kit to save money. How much is really saved? The hours that are put in just trying to figure out which policies to put in takes up more time than it is worth. In addition, more than likely the recommended policies probably have to be re-written to customize them for your particular environment. This all takes time and assuming that the policy is being written by someone on the upper pay scale you have to consider how much you are really saving.
Alright, I have said my piece. Whether you elect to do one yourself or you retain a professional there are some essential items that you want to make sure are in your handbook. Now, as many of you are aware, I have been reviewing and writing handbooks for close to thirty years. The essentials that I am offering below are my opinion. Another professional could disagree but that’s who we are!
These are the top 25 critical areas:
1. The employment relationship (at-will)
2. Equal Employment Opportunity Statement (Discrimination)
3. Affirmative Action Statement (if applicable)
4. Sexual Harassment Policy
5. Work Hours
6. Breaks (one ten minute break for every four hours of work)
7. Lunch (one thirty break for every five hours)
8. Pay periods
9. Overtime pay computation
10. Vacation Policy
12. Sick Pay (if applicable)
13. FMLA (if applicable)
14. Pregnancy Leave
15. Military Spouse Leave
16. Military Leave
17. Jury Duty
18. Internal Complaint Procedure
19. Non-Retaliation Policy
20. Dress Code
21. Conduct Policy
22. Computer Use Policy
23. Conflict of Interest
24. Safety & Workers Comp Reporting
25. Alcohol & Drug Policy
Again, I offer these as my opinion and if you ever need assistance we stand at the ready.