Legal Insight. Unmatched Instinct.

What should you include in your employee handbook?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2021 | Business Law

Communication with your employees is essential. If your employees don’t have a clear idea of their responsibilities, they might not do the job the way you want them to. That is why it is important to let them know about your employment policies in writing when you hire them. An efficient way to do this is by creating an employee handbook, with which you can avoid misunderstandings and lawsuits that could affect your business.

The solution for misunderstandings

The more organized your business is, the more successful it will be. The key to organization is communication. You can’t expect your employees to comply with your wishes if they don’t know what you expect from them or what they cannot do while working for you. With a written employee handbook, you can outline your employment policies, practices, procedures and regulations to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities. In the handbook, you can include items like paydays, overtime, work schedule, and vacations, among many other provisions.

Compliance with the law

You must let your employees know about their obligations, but also, and most importantly, about their rights. Federal and state laws require you to inform all your employees about some of their rights. You can do this by detailing the following in the employee handbook:

  • Meal and rest breaks
  • Family and medical leave
  • Paid sick leave
  • Pregnancy and disability leave
  • Equal opportunity and anti-discrimination policy
  • Sexual harassment policy
  • Military service leave
  • Jury duty leave
  • Voting leave

The law can change, so you must constantly review your handbook to ensure it is still legally acceptable. You must make any updates if the law changes.

Protection for your business

Lawsuits enter the picture when there are misunderstandings or disputes. If you ever discharge someone for breaking a rule, but you hadn’t informed them about it, that person could think you fired them for an illegal reason. You are free to terminate your employees at any time, for any reason except for those that are illegal, such as discrimination or retaliation. If you don’t have a way to prove that they broke an outlined policy, they could suspect that you fired them for the wrong reason, and you could be subject to a legal complaint.

The importance of handbooks

An employee handbook can reflect your needs and inform your employees about their legal rights. It will also give you the possibility to enforce your policies without causing misunderstandings. However, you must remember that you need to update your handbook as the law changes. An experienced lawyer could keep you updated on any changes in the law, as well as advise you on what you should include in your handbook according to your business’ size and nature. That way, you can ensure coordination and protection for your business.