An employee handbook is an important document for all employers. As you create or update your employee handbook, here are some key things to consider:
1. Are employee handbooks legally required?
Although employee handbooks are not legally required, they are a “must have” for all employers regardless of size. Some employment laws require employers to inform employees about their rights related to specific laws and an employee handbook is usually the best way to do this. A handbook will ensure your organization’s human resources policies are clearly communicated to your employees and it will help defend against legal claims.
2. How often should the employee handbook be updated?
With ever-changing changing laws, employers should review their employee handbooks at least once a year. Although new laws are often effective on January 1, some may be effective at other times during the year. Keep an eye on federal, state, and local (city) laws that may be changing.
3. What’s the best way to stay up to date on new employment laws?
There are several resources that can help employers keep updated with new employment laws – 7 Strategies to Keep Up with Changing Employment Laws.
4. How long should the employee handbook be?
An employee handbook is an overview of your human resources policies, and it should not include every detail. If the employee handbook is too long and not written in a succinct, clear manner, employees will find it difficult to use. A handbook for a small or midsize employer can normally be done in 30 to 40 pages.
5. Should employees be given a hard copy of the handbook, or can it be provided electronically?
Either way will work. Make sure employees sign an “Acknowledgement” form to confirm they received a handbook. Most employers post their handbook internally so employees may refer to it at any time.
6. Should the employee handbook be given to contractors and unpaid interns?
No. An employee handbook is meant only for employees who are on the payroll, Employers should use another method to communicate expectations to non-employees such as contractors and unpaid interns.
7. With many rules included in the handbook, how can it have a more positive approach and less of a negative approach?
Employee handbooks include many expectations and rules. However, it is not necessary to state in every policy that employees will be disciplined or fired if they violate it. For a positive approach, start off your handbook with a warm welcome message from your top official. And, close the handbook on a positive note by letting employees know that you are excited they have joined your organization.
8. How can I get assistance in creating or updating an employee handbook?
For expert guidance in creating or updating a legally compliant and customized employee handbook, contact us at LJ Consulting.