A well-written employee handbook is important for both employers and employees. There are multiple purposes of the handbook and they vary from identifying employee benefits to limiting the employer’s liability.
Leaders should take the time to consider what to include for their specific organization.
There are several important items every handbook should include, such as:
- Pay practices and overtime requirements
- Benefits that are available, including paid time off
- Leave of absence rights and responsibilities
Larger employers must provide other policies, such as a Family and Medical Leave Act policy. Different states require certain policies, and therefore employers should consult their legal counsel to ensure they have the proper policies in their handbook.
Employers should also always include disclaimers in their employee handbooks. A properly worded disclaimer prevents the handbook from being considered a contract of employment, and preserve the at-will nature of the employees’ employment. The employer will want to reserve the right to modify the handbook at any time and without notice to employees, and should provide flexibility for managers to enforce or choose not to enforce handbook provisions at their discretion.
Many employers also require employees to sign a statement after reading the handbook to acknowledge the policies and that they agree to follow them.
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