When you first opened your business chances are it was just you running things with possible assistance from family members. After working hard to grow your business you’ve hired some employees to help with the workload. How do you convey the rules of the business to your employees? Do you just tell your employees what you expect or do you have it written down for them to follow? If you are just verbalizing the information to your employees it can come back to bite you.
Having an employee handbook helps a business, regardless of its size, inform its employees of what is expected of them and what they can expect from the business. It will also explain what legal obligations you have and what rights your employees have as well as what is required by federal and state law. To ensure these polices are covered in your employee handbook verify what is required by checking the websites for the Department of Labor and your state’s labor department.
According to the Small Business Administration the following should be included in an employee handbook:
Non-Disclosure Agreements and Conflict of Interest Statements
Having a non-disclosure agreement and conflict of interest statement will ensure that the proprietary information of your business is protected.
Anti-discrimination polices provide information on how a business will deal with discrimination and harassment.
Compensation and Work Schedules
These polices explain such things as what deductions will be taken out of an employee’s paycheck, what your legal obligations are regarding overtime, when the employee will be paid, what hours the employee will work, when their breaks will be and attendance.
This section explains what expectations you have of your employees conduct and what their legal obligations are.
General Employment Information
This is where you provide information regarding your business and general employment policies such as employment eligibility, employee’s records, probationary periods and termination.
Safety and Security
This section provides information on how you will maintain a safe and secure work environment. This includes compliance with OSHA laws.
Computers and Technology
These polices provide information on proper computer usage and how electronic information should be secured,.
This is where you provide information on how media inquiries regarding your business will be handled and by whom.
This is where you explain what benefits are available and what criteria need to be met to be eligible for them.
This section will provide detailed information regarding absences allowed, including those required by law.
Depending on what kind of business you have will determine whether you should include more or less information in your employee handbook.
To ensure that you are not misrepresenting information or contradicting laws any employee handbook that you create should be reviewed by a labor/employment lawyer.
Once you have a completed handbook it should be reviewed by each employee. Once the employee has completed reviewing it they should sign and date documentation stating that they have read the handbook and understand what is included in it. Any polices that are changed should be reviewed by the employee and a new signed and dated acknowledgement should be obtained.
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