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What is an Employee Handbook?
Employee Handbooks are business policy documents that document company rules and expectations and may include necessary legal notices. Employee Handbooks can also relate your corporate vision and define benefit packages.
Employee Handbooks help ensure everyone knows the rules and what they're accountable for. They are commonly shared with new employees when hiring, or with existing employees after incidents or annually to review policies. They should be updated and shared again as often as you update your business policies.
When can you use an Employee Handbook?
You would like to establish certain rules of conduct for your employees to ensure that your work environment is safe, healthy, and positive for all company personnel.
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Table of Contents
Section - Introduction
. Changes in Policy
Section - Employment Policies
. Employee Classifications
. Equal Employment Opportunity & Americans with Disabilities Act.
. Employment of Minors
. Employment of Relatives
. Personnel Records and Employee References
. Immigration Law Compliance
. Political Neutrality
Section - Hours of Work and Payroll Practices
. Pay Periods and Paydays
. Rest and Meal Periods
. Time Cards
. Payroll Deductions
. Wage Garnishment
Section - Standards of Conduct and Employee Performance
. Anti- Harassment and Discrimination
. Discipline and Standards of Conduct
. Dress Code
. Substance and Abuse
. Workplace Searches
. Cell Phone Policy
Section - Employee Benefits and Services
. Worker's Compensation
. Social Security Benefits (FICA)
. Unemployment Insurance
Section - Employee Leaves of Absence and Time Off
. Family and Medical Leave
. Workers' Compensation Leave
. Jury Duty
This ("") is designed to summarize certain personnel policies and benefits of (the "Company"), of , , , and to acquaint employees with many of the rules concerning employment with the Company. This applies to all employees, and compliance with the Company's policies is a condition of employment. This supersedes all previous employment policies, written and oral, express and implied. The Company reserves the right to modify, rescind, delete, or add to the provisions of this from time to time in its sole and absolute discretion. This is not a binding contract between the Company and its employees, nor is it intended to alter the employment relationship between the Company and its employees. The Company reserves the right to interpret the policies in this Handbook and to deviate from them when, in its discretion, it determines it is appropriate.
. Changes in Policy
Since our business is constantly changing, the Company expressly reserves the right to revise, modify, delete, or add to any and all policies, procedures, work rules, or benefits stated in this handbook or in any other document. No oral statements or representations can in any way alter the provisions of this . Nothing in this employee handbook or in any other document, including benefit plan descriptions, creates or is intended to create a promise or representation of continued employment for any employee. Any changes to your employment status, described below, must be in writing and must be signed by the Company.
If you are uncertain about any policy or procedure, please check with your manager or Human Resources.
. Employee Classifications
The following terms are used to describe employees and their employment status:
Exempt Employees - Employees whose positions meet specific tests established by the Federal Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and state law. In general, exempt employees are those engaged in executive, managerial, high-level administrative and professional jobs who are paid a fixed salary and perform certain duties. In addition, certain commissioned sales employees and highly paid computer professionals are exempt. Exempt employees are not subject to the minimum wage and overtime laws.
Nonexempt Employees - Employees whose positions do not meet specific tests established by the FLSA and state law. All employees who are covered by the federal or state minimum wage and overtime laws are considered nonexempt. Employees working in nonexempt jobs are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage per hour and a premium for overtime.
Full-Time Employees - Employees who are not temporary employees, independent contractors, or independent consultants and who are regularly scheduled to work a schedule of hours per work week.
Part-Time Employees - Employees who are not temporary employees, independent contractors, or independent consultants and who are regularly scheduled to work less than hours per work week.
Temporary Employees - Employees who are hired as interim replacements to temporarily supplement the workforce or to assist in the completion of a specific project. Employment assignments in this category are of limited duration and the temporary employee can be let go before the end of the defined period. Short term assignments generally are periods of three (3) months or less, however, such assignments may be extended.
Independent Contractor or Consultant - These individuals are not employees of the Company and are self-employed. An independent contractor or consultant is engaged to perform a task according to his/her own methods and is subject to control and direction only as to the results to be accomplished. Independent contractors or consultants are not entitled to benefits.
Each employee will be advised of his or her status at the time of hire and any change in status.
. Equal Employment Opportunity & Americans with Disabilities Act
It is the policy of the Company to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and employment applicants without regard to unlawful considerations of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status or any other classification protected by applicable local, state or federal laws. This policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. This policy applies to all aspects of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, job assignment, working conditions, compensation, promotion, benefits, scheduling, training, discipline and termination.
The Company expects all employees to support our equal employment opportunity policy, and to take all steps necessary to maintain a workplace free from unlawful discrimination and harassment and to accommodate others in line with this policy to the fullest extent required by law. For example, the Company will make reasonable accommodations for employees' observance of religious holidays and practices unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the Company's operations. If you desire a religious accommodation, you are required to make the request in writing to your manager as far in advance as possible. You are expected to strive to find co-workers who can assist in the accommodation (e.g. trade shifts) and cooperate with the Company in seeking and evaluating alternatives.
Moreover, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Company provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities to the fullest extent required by law. The Company may require medical certification of both the disability and the need for accommodation. Keep in mind that the Company can only seek to accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual. Therefore, it is your responsibility to come forward if you are in need of an accommodation. The Company will engage in an interactive process with the employee to identify possible accommodations, if any will help the applicant or employee perform the job.
In the course of employment with the Company, employees may have access to "Confidential Information" regarding the Company, which may include its business strategy, future plans, financial information, contracts, suppliers, customers, personnel information or other information that the Company considers proprietary and confidential. Maintaining the confidentiality of this information is vital to the Company's competitive position in the industry and, ultimately, to its ability to achieve financial success and stability. Employees must protect this information by safeguarding it when in use, using it only for the business of the Company and disclosing it only when authorized to do so and to those who have a legitimate business need to know about it. This duty of confidentiality applies whether the employee is on or off the Company's premises, and during and even after the end of the employee's employment with the Company. This duty of confidentiality also applies to communications transmitted by the Company's electronic communications. See also Internet, Email and Computer Use policy, herein.
. Employment of Minors
The FLSA's child labor provisions, which the Company strictly adheres to, are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety. Generally speaking, the FLSA sets the minimum age for employment (14 years for non-agricultural jobs), restricts the hours youth under the age of 16 may work, and prohibits youth under the age of 18 from being employed in hazardous occupations. In addition, the FLSA establishes subminimum wage standards for certain employees who are less than 20 years of age, full-time students, student learners, apprentices, and workers with disabilities. Employers generally must have authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in order to pay sub-minimum wage rates.
. Employment of Relatives
The Company recognizes that the employment of relatives in certain circumstances, such as when they will work in the same department, supervise or manage the other, or have access to confidential or sensitive information regarding the other, can cause problems related to supervision, safety, security or morale, or create conflicts of interest that materially and substantially disrupt the Company's operations. When the Company determines any of these problems will be present, it will decline to hire an individual to work in the same department as a relative. Relatives subject to this policy include: father, mother, sister, brother, current spouse or domestic partner, child (natural, foster, or adopted), current mother-in- law, current father-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild.
If present employees become relatives during employment, the Company should be notified so that we may determine whether a problem involving supervision, safety, security or morale, or a conflict of interest that would materially and substantially disrupt the Company's operations exists. If the Company determines that such a problem exists, the Company will take appropriate steps to resolve the problem, which may include reassignment of one relative (if feasible) or asking for the resignation of one of the relatives.
. Personnel Records and Employee References
The Company maintains a personnel file and payroll records for each employee as required by law. Personnel files and payroll records are the property of the Company and may not be removed from Company premises without written authorization. Because personnel files and payroll records are confidential, access to the records is restricted. Generally, only those who have a legitimate reason to review information in an employee's file are allowed to do so. Disclosure of personnel information to outside sources will be limited. However, the Company will cooperate with requests from authorized law enforcement or local, state, or federal agencies conducting official investigations and as otherwise legally required.
Employees may contact a Human Resources representative to request a time to review their payroll records and/or personnel file. With reasonable advance notice, an employee may review his or her own records in the Company's offices during regular business hours and in the presence of an individual appointed by the Company to maintain the records. within seven working days after a request is madeYou may add your comments to any disputed item in the file.
By policy, the Company will provide only the former or present employee's dates of employment and position(s) held with the Company. Compensation information may also be verified if written authorization is provided by the employee.
The Company is respectful of employee privacy. All employee demographic and personal information will be shared only as required in the normal course of business. Healthcare enrollment information is kept in a separate folder from other human resources forms. Workers' Compensation information is not considered private healthcare information; however, this information will be released only on a need-to-know basis.
The Company does not make or receive any private healthcare information through the course of normal work. If any employee voluntarily shares private healthcare information with a member of management, this information will be kept confidential. If applicable, the Company will set up guidelines for employees and management to follow to ensure that company employees conform to the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
. Immigration Law Compliance
In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, each new employee, as a condition of employment, must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 on the date of hire and present documentation establishing identity and employment eligibility within three business days of date of hire. Former employees who are rehired must also complete an I-9 form if they have not completed an I-9 form with the Company within the past three years, or if their previous I-9 form is no longer retained or valid. You may raise questions or complaints about immigration law compliance without fear of reprisal.
. Political Neutrality
Maintenance of individual freedom and our political institutions necessitates broad scale participation by citizens concerning the selection, nomination and election of our public office holders. The Company will not discriminate against any employee because of identification with and support of any lawful political activity. Company employees are entitled to their own personal political position. The Company will not discriminate against employees based on their lawful political activity engaged in outside of work. If you are engaging in political activity, however, you should always make it clear that your actions and opinions are your own and not necessarily those of the Company, and that you are not representing the Company.
Hours of Work and Payroll Practices
. Pay Periods and Paydays
Employees are paid on a basis. Monday All employees are paid by check on the above-mentioned payday. If the regular payday falls on a weekend or Company holiday, employees will be paid on the last business day before the holiday and/or weekend.
Nonexempt employees will be paid in accordance with federal and state law.
All overtime work by non-exempt employees must be authorized in advance by their manager. Only hours actually worked will be used to calculate overtime pay.
. Rest and Meal Periods
All rest and meal periods will be in accordance with state law.
. Time Cards
Nonexempt employees are required to keep an accurate and complete record of their attendance and hours worked. Time cards are official business records and may not be altered without the employee's supervisor's approval and may not be falsified in any way.
. Payroll Deductions
Various payroll deductions are made each payday to comply with federal and state laws pertaining to taxes and insurance. Deductions will be made for the following: Federal and State Income Tax Withholding, Social Security, Medicare, State Disability Insurance & Family Temporary Disability Insurance, and other items designated by you or required by law (including a valid court order). You can adjust your federal and state income tax withholding by completing the proper federal or state form and submitting it to Accounting or Human Resources. At the start of each calendar year, you will be supplied with your Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) form for the prior year. This statement summarizes your income and deductions for the year.
. Wage Garnishment
A garnishment is a court order requiring an employer to remit part of an employee's wages to a third party to satisfy a just debt. Once the Company receives the legal papers ordering a garnishment, we are required by law to continue making deductions from your check until we have withheld the full amount or until we receive legal papers from the court to stop the garnishment. Even if you have already paid the debt, we still need the legal papers to stop the garnishment.
Standards of Conduct and Employee Performance
. Anti- Harassment and Discrimination
The Company is committed to providing a work environment free of sexual or any form of unlawful harassment or discrimination. Harassment or unlawful discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status or any other classification protected by local, state or federal laws is illegal and prohibited by Company policy. Such conduct by or towards any employee, contract worker, customer, vendor or anyone else who does business with the Company will not be tolerated. Any employee or contract worker who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of his or her employment or engagement. To the extent a customer, vendor or other person with whom the Company does business engages in unlawful harassment or discrimination, the Company will take appropriate corrective action.
Prohibited harassment or discrimination includes any verbal, physical or visual conduct based on sex, race, age, national origin, disability or any other legally protected basis if:
submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or engagement;
submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for decisions concerning that individual's employment or engagement; or
it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.
Prohibited harassment includes (but is not limited to) unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and lewd, vulgar or obscene remarks, jokes, posters or cartoons, and any unwelcome touching, pinching or other physical contact. Other forms of unlawful harassment or discrimination may include racial epithets, slurs and derogatory remarks, stereotypes, jokes, posters or cartoons based on race, national origin, age, disability, marital status or other legally protected categories. Prohibited harassment might also be transmitted using the Company's electronic communications system, or through other on-line conduct.
Employees or contract workers who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against, or who witness any harassment or discrimination by an employee, contract worker, customer, vendor or anyone else who does business with the Company, should immediately report such conduct to their supervisor or any other member of management.
Do not allow an inappropriate situation to continue by not reporting it, regardless of who is creating the situation. No employee, contract worker, customer, vendor or other person who does business with this organization is exempt from the prohibitions in this policy. In response to every complaint, the Company will conduct an investigation which may involve interviewing witnesses if warranted and, if improper conduct is found, take appropriate corrective action.
To the extent that an employee or contract worker is not satisfied with the Company's handling of a harassment or discrimination complaint, he or she may also contact the appropriate state or federal enforcement agency for legal relief.
Punctuality and regular attendance are essential to the successful operation of the Company's business. If an employee is unable to report to work (or to report to work on time) for any reason, the employee must notify his or her supervisor before his or her starting time. If an employee desires to leave work for any reason during the workday, the employee must obtain the approval of his or her supervisor prior to leaving. 3 Excessive absenteeism or tardiness may subject the employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
. Discipline and Standards of Conduct
Discipline may take various forms, including verbal counseling, written warnings, suspension, demotion, transfer, reassignment or termination. The discipline imposed will depend on the circumstances of each case; therefore, discipline will not necessarily be imposed in any particular sequence. Moreover, at any time the Company determines it is appropriate, an employee may be terminated immediately.
Every organization must have certain standards of conduct to guide the behavior of employees. Although there is no possible way to identify every rule of conduct, the following is an illustrative list (not intended to be comprehensive or to limit the Company's right to impose discipline for any other conduct it deems inappropriate). Keep in mind that these standards of conduct apply to all employees whenever they are on Company property and/or conducting Company business (on or off Company property). Engaging in any conduct the Company deems inappropriate may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Falsification of Company records;
Unauthorized use or possession of property that belongs to the Company, a coworker, or of the public;
Possession or control of illegal drugs, weapons, explosives, or other dangerous or unauthorized materials;
Fighting, engaging in threats of violence or violence, use of vulgar or abusive language, horseplay, practical jokes or other disorderly conduct that may endanger others or damage property;
Insubordination, failure to perform assigned duties or failure to comply with the Company's health, safety or other rules;
Unauthorized or careless use of the Company's materials, equipment or property;
Unauthorized and/or excessive absenteeism or tardiness;
Lack of teamwork, poor communication, unsatisfactory performance, unprofessional conduct, or conduct improper for the workplace;
Sexual or other illegal harassment or discrimination;
Unauthorized use or disclosure of the Company's confidential information;
Violation of any Company policy.
. Dress Code
Animals that are registered service animals will be permitted in the workplace.
The Company is committed to providing a safe workplace. Accordingly, the Company emphasizes "safety first." It is the employee's responsibility to take steps to promote safety in the workplace and work in a safe manner. By remaining safety conscious, employees can protect themselves and their coworkers. Employees are expected to promptly report all unsafe working conditions, accidents and injuries, regardless of how minor so that any potential hazards can be corrected.
. Substance and Abuse
The Company is committed to providing its employees with a safe and productive work environment. In keeping with this commitment, it maintains a strict policy against the use of alcohol and the unlawful use of drugs in the workplace. Consequently, no employee may consume or possess alcohol, or use, possess, sell, purchase or transfer illegal drugs at any time while on the Company's premises or while using the Company vehicles or equipment, or at any location during work time.
No employee may report to work with illegal drugs (or their metabolites) or alcohol in his or her bodily system. The only exception to this rule is that employees may engage in moderate consumption of alcohol that may be served and/or consumed as part of an authorized Company social or business event. "Illegal drug" means any drug that is not legally obtainable or that is legally obtainable but has not been legally obtained. It includes prescription drugs not being used for prescribed purposes or by the person to whom it is prescribed or in prescribed amounts. It also includes any substance a person holds out to another as an illegal drug.
Any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Any employee who feels he or she has developed an addiction to, dependence upon, or problem with alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal, is strongly encouraged to seek assistance before a violation of this policy occurs. Any employee who requests time off to participate in a rehabilitation program will be reasonably accommodated. However, employees may not avoid disciplinary action, up to and including termination, by entering a rehabilitation program after a violation of this policy is suspected or discovered.
. Workplace Searches
All offices, desks, file drawers, cabinets, lockers, Company vehicles, and other Company equipment (including but not limited to computers, e-mail and voice mail) and facilities or any area on Company premises are the property of the Company ("Company Property"), and are intended for business use. Employees should have no expectation of privacy with respect to Company property and/or items stored within Company Property or on Company premises. Inspection may be conducted at any time, without notice, at the discretion of the Company.
In addition, when the Company deems appropriate, employees may be required to submit to searches of their personal vehicles, parcels, purses, handbags, backpacks, brief cases, lunch boxes or any other possessions or articles brought on to the Company's premises.
Persons entering the premises who refuse to cooperate in an inspection conducted pursuant to this policy may not be permitted to enter the premises. All employees must cooperate in an inspection; failure to do so is insubordination and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
. Cell Phone Policy
The use of personal cell phones at work is discouraged because it can interfere with work and be disruptive to others. Therefore, employees who bring personal cell phones to work are required to keep the ringer shut off or placed on vibrate mode when they are in the office, and to keep cell phone use confined to breaks and meal periods. Conversations should be had away from areas where other employees are working. When cell phone use interferes with the satisfactory performance of an employee's duties or disturbs others, the privilege of using a personal cell phone at work may be taken away and other disciplinary action, up to and including termination, may be imposed.
The Company may provide cell phone allowances to employees in certain positions in an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness. When cell phones are used for Company business, employees must comply with all Company policies governing conduct, including our policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and violence in the workplace. When using the cell phone in a public place, please remember to maintain the confidentiality of any private or confidential business information. As a courtesy to others, please shut cell phones off or place on vibrate mode during meetings.
Employee Benefits and Services
full-time From time to time, benefits may be added or deleted from the benefits package. The Company reserves the right to make such changes.
This does not contain the complete terms and/or conditions of any of the Company's current benefit plans. It is intended only to provide general explanations. For information regarding employee benefits and services, employees should contact .
. Workers' Compensation
All states have Workers' Compensation laws whose purpose is to promote the general welfare of people by providing compensation for accidental injuries or death suffered in the course of employment. These laws are designed to provide protection to workers suffering occupational disabilities through accidents arising out of, and in the course of employment. carries Workers' Compensation Insurance for all employees and pays the entire cost of the insurance program. An employee who suffers an injury or illness in connection with the job is usually eligible to receive payment through the insurance company for lost wages. In addition to disability payments, necessary hospital, medical and surgical expenses are covered under Workers' Compensation, with payments being made directly to the hospital or physician. Workers' Compensation benefits to injured workers also include assistance to help qualified injured employees return to suitable employment.
. Social Security Benefits (FICA)
During your employment, you and the Company both contribute funds to the Federal government to support the Social Security Program. This program is intended to provide you with retirement benefit payments and medical coverage once you reach retirement age.
. Unemployment Insurance
The company pays a state and federal tax to provide employees with unemployment insurance coverage in the event they become unemployed through no fault of their own or due to circumstances described by law. This insurance is administered by applicable state agencies, who determine eligibility for benefits, the amount of benefits (if any), and duration of benefits.
Employee Leaves of Absence and Time Off
While regular attendance is crucial to maintain business operations, the Company recognizes that, for a variety of reasons, employees may need time off from work. The Company has available a number of types of leaves of absence. Some are governed by law and others are discretionary. For all planned leaves, however, employees must submit a request at least days in advance; in case of emergencies, employees should submit the request as soon as they become aware of the need for leave. All leaves must have the approval of Company management. If, during a leave, an employee accepts another job, engages in other employment or consulting outside of the Company, or applies for unemployment insurance benefits, the employee may be considered to have voluntarily resigned from employment with the Company.
All requests for a leave of absence will be considered in light of their effect on the Company and its work requirements, as determined by Company management, which reserves the right to approve or deny such requests in its sole discretion, unless otherwise required by law. For disability-related leave requests, the Company will engage in an interactive process with the employee to determine if a leave is the most appropriate accommodation. The employee must provide a certification from his or her health care provider to the Company to support a leave for medical reasons. Failure to provide the required certification to the Company in a timely manner will result in delay or denial of leave. If an employee requires an extension of leave, the employee must request such extension and have it approved before the expiration of the currently approved leave.
While the Company will make a reasonable effort to return the employee to his or her former position or a comparable position following an approved leave of absence, there is no guarantee that the employee will be reinstated to his or her position, or any position, except as required by law.
When employees eligible for paid sick days do not take the full amount of sick time they could have taken in a year, that amount automatically carries over to the next year. When employees eligible for paid personal days do not take the full amount of personal time they could have taken in a year, that amount automatically carries over to the next year. Employees may not accrue more than of vacation time. Once an employee's vacation balance reaches this limit, an employee may accrue more vacation only by taking some vacation time to bring the balance back below the limit. Employees may not accrue more than of time off. Once an employee's time off balance reaches this limit, an employee may accrue more time off only by taking some time off to bring the balance back below the limit.
New Year's Day
an unpaid An employer is allowed to transfer a returning employee who is medically unable to perform his or her original job to work more suitable to the employee's physical condition, if such work is available.
State Family and Medical Leave:
An employee of at least one year and 1,000 hours of a company with 20 or more employees may qualify for up to 16 weeks of state family leave for childbirth, adoption, pregnancy-maternity, domestic violence, or care for a family member with a serious health condition, plus 16 weeks of medical leave for the employee's own serious health condition, which may be taken during a 2 year period. A "family member" is a person related by blood, legal custody or marriage. In addition, a person is considered a family member if the employee lives or has lived with the person in the past year and maintains a committed relationship with the person. The 24-month period will be calculated based on a calendar year. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee with one year and at least 1,000 hours of service in the last 12 months of a company with more than 75 employees may qualify for state family and medical leave of up to 16 workweeks every 2 years for the purposes described above. The 24-month period will be calculated based on a calendar year. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
During a family and medical leave, group benefits will be maintained for up to 16 workweeks (or up to 26 weeks when leave is for the purpose of caring for a covered service member), as if the employee was continuously employed.
An employee of a company with more than 50 employees may qualify for up to 3 days' leave in any 12-month period to seek a restraining order, obtain medical care or counseling, relocate, or seek legal assistance for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee of a company with more than 100 employees may qualify for up to four weeks of state family and medical leave in any calendar year to care for a family member with a serious health condition or care for a newly born or adopted child. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee who has been employed for at least 3 months may qualify for up to 3 working days of state leave in any 12-month period if the employee or family/household member is a victim of domestic violence, with or without pay at the discretion of the employer. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee may qualify for up to 12 weeks of unpaid state leave in any 12-month period if the employee or family/household member is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee of a company with at least 25 employees may qualify for up to 4 months of short-term disability leave if temporarily disabled because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Companies with at least 20 employees may grant up to 40 hours' paid leave per year to donate bone barrow. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee may qualify for up to 24 hours per year total of leave to attend school activities. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
The state of New Jersey has enacted the NJ Family Leave Act (or "NJFLA"). The NJFLA applies to employers that are subject to the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law for employees who have worked 20 calendar weeks in covered New Jersey employment, or earned at least 1000 times NJ minimum wage during the 52 weeks preceding leave. Employees can take paid leave to care for a newborn within 12 months of birth, to care for a newly adopted child within 12 months of placement, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, but not an employee's own disabilities.
"Family member" means spouse, civil union partner, domestic partner, parent or child
"Parent" means biological, foster, adoptive, step, legal guardian
"Child" means biological, adopted, foster, step, legal ward, child of a domestic partner or civil union partner who is under 19 or over 19 but incapable of self care because of mental or physical impairment
"Care" means but is not limited to physical care, emotional support, visitation, assistance in treatment, transportation, arranging for a change in care, assistance with essential daily living matters and personal attendant services
"Serious health condition" means illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition which requires: (i) inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility or (ii) continuing medical treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider
When an employee takes a leave for a purpose covered by both the FMLA and the NJFLA, the leave simultaneously counts against the employee's entitlement under both laws.
The FMLA provides time off from work due to an employee's own disability, while the NJFLA does not provide covered employees with leave for their own disabilities. Thus, even though an employee may utilize all of his or her allotted time under the federal FMLA due to his or her disability, the employee may then be entitled to time off under the NJFLA in connection with the birth or adoption of a child or the serious illness of a parent, child or spouse.
The FMLA provides up to twelve weeks in a 12-month period, rather than a 24-month period as provided in the NJFLA.
An employee, who has worked at least 25 hours per week for 6 months, of a company with at least 25 employees may qualify for state family and medical leave of 12 weeks per year for pregnancy/maternity, adoption, or childbirth. An additional 12 weeks of leave per year may be granted for an employee's or a family member's serious health condition, or to care for a child who has an illness, injury, or condition that requires home care. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee may qualify for 13 weeks of state family and medical leave in any two calendar years for childbirth, adoption of a child up to 16 years old, an employee's or a family member's serious health condition. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee with at least 12 consecutive months and 1000 hours worked with the company may qualify for state family and medical leave of 6 weeks per 12-month period for pregnancy/maternity, childbirth, or adoption. An additional 2 weeks per 12-month period of leave may be provided to care for a family member (including a domestic partner) with a serious health condition. An additional 2 weeks per 12-month period of leave may be provided to care for the employee's own serious health condition. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employee's federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
An employee, having worked for the employer for at least one year and 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, may qualify for an additional 12 weeks of state family leave (FLA) in addition to the pregnancy disability leave ordered off by her health care provider. This will give her more total protected leave from work than the leave offered under the federal FMLA. In a case where the employee qualifies for FMLA the employee may use the leave to care for a registered domestic partner with a serious health condition. In this case the employee will qualify for the state family leave (FLA) but not for the federal FMLA.
An employee, with at least 12 consecutive months as a full-time employee, of a company with at least 100 employees, may qualify for state family and medical leave of up to 4 months for pregnancy/maternity and childbirth (this includes nursing). Employees must give 3 months' notice unless a medical emergency requires the leave to begin sooner. All time off that qualifies as family and medical leave will be counted against the employees federal and, if applicable, state family and medical leave entitlement to the fullest extent permitted by law.
As an alternative, employees may qualify for paid leave under the Paid Family Leave Benefit Law ("PFLBL") described below. Please note that paid leave under the PFLBL cannot be used to handle an employee's own medical issues.
Accrued sick time may be used during FMLA/CFRA leave. Once accrued sick time is used up, the remainder of the FMLA/CFRA leave will be without pay
. Workers' Compensation Leave
Any employee who is unable to work due to a work related injury or illness and who is eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits will be provided an unpaid leave for the period required. The first 12 weeks will be treated concurrently as a family and medical leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") for employees eligible for FMLA leave.
. Jury Duty
U.S. citizens have a civic obligation to provide jury duty service when called.
The employee must bring in the jury duty notice as soon as it is received so that appropriate arrangements can be made to cover his or her duties. Employees are required to call in or report for work on those days or parts of days when their presence in court is not required.
Employment Agreement and
Acknowledgement of Receipt of
I acknowledge that I have been provided with a copy of the (the "Company") , which contains important information on the Company's policies, procedures and benefits, including the policies on Anti-Harassment/Discrimination, Substance Use and Abuse and Confidentiality. I understand that I am responsible for familiarizing myself with the policies in this handbook and agree to comply with all rules applicable to me.
I understand and agree that the policies described in the handbook are intended as a guide only and do not constitute a contract of employment. This is the entire agreement between the Company and me regarding this subject. All prior or contemporaneous inconsistent agreements are superseded.
I understand that the Company reserves the right to make changes to its policies, procedures or benefits at any time at its discretion. I further understand that the Company reserves the right to interpret its policies or to vary its procedures as it deems necessary or appropriate.
I have received the Company . I have read (or will read) and agree to abide by the policies and procedures contained in the .
Montana does not adhere the doctrine of employment at-will. The Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 39-2-901, provides employers with a narrow window of "at-will" employment opportunities. "At-will" can be defined as the right of an employer to hire or fire for any reason that is not illegal or contrary to written policies. Only during the probationary period are employees working in Montana subject to discharge without "good cause." If the employer does not establish a specific probationary period at the time of hire, there is a probationary period of 6 months from the date of hire." Mont. Code Ann. § 39-2-904(2)(b). After the employee successfully completes his or her probationary period, the employee can only be terminated by "good cause" as defined by Montana law.
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Montana does not adhere to the doctrine of employment at-will. The Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 39-2-901, provides employers with a narrow window of "at-will" employment opportunities. "At-will" can be defined as the right of an employer to hire or fire for any reason that is not illegal or contrary to written policies. Only during the probationary period are employees working in Montana subject to discharge without "good cause." If the employer does not establish a specific probationary period at the time of hire, there is a probationary period of 6 months from the date of hire." Mont. Code Ann. § 39-2-904(2)(b). After the employee successfully completes his or her probationary period, the employee can only be terminated by "good cause" as defined by Montana law.
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Employee Handbook FAQs
Why does my company need an Employee Handbook?
Employee Handbooks not only outline your employment policies, but they also are a way of welcoming a new employee to the company and showcasing your company culture. It is best to start off a new employment relationship with clear expectations and well-communicated policies.
Benefits of an Employee Handbook include:
Legal protection. Employee Handbooks describe the employment relationship (at-will most often), time off policies, reasons for possible termination, harassment and discrimination policies and complaint procedures.
Highlights benefits packages. You can relate what your employee can expect you to offer them in terms of health insurance, 401K plans, paid time off, holiday pay, disability insurance and more. You can also explain when benefits take effect.
Saves time. While you'll want to spend some time welcoming your new employee to the company and explaining to them your expectations, the handbook explains much more and gives them something to refer to should they have questions.
Helps unify your managers. A comprehensive Employee Manual is also a good reference for your managers. Using it, they can more clearly explain company rules like vacation policies, plus all the managers will be able refer to the same information for consistency across departments.
Defines expectations. When you are talking with your new employee you likely don't want to focus on "what they can't do" the first few days. To start communications in a positive tone, you can use the Employee Handbook to cover restrictive topics such as hygiene and dress codes, social media and computer use restrictions, drug and alcohol policies, and complaint procedures.
How do I write an introduction for my Employee Handbook?
You need a good introduction or mission statement whether it is for this document or your business plan or website. In the Employee Handbook it should clearly define what your company does, its overall goals and the beliefs that guide the organization. Here are some easy tips to follow:
Keep it short. If you can, it should only be a few sentences long. Most employees are not going to read much more than a short paragraph.
Ask for help. Your current employees and business partners may be able to help you define the vision for the company.
Test it. Ask business associates, employees and even clients if they can easily understand what you are trying to say about your company. Does your company reflect that vision from the outside?
Be specific. Saying that your company "is striving to be the best in the world" is a vague statement. Try to write a statement people can visualize and aim for.
What if I need to change my Employment Handbook?
Company policies change often and that's okay. This document includes a disclaimer about how employees are responsible for knowing policy changes and that the Employee Handbook is not an employment contract. To fulfill your part, you should do your best to communicate company policy changes. You should also inform your employees about new employment laws as they go into effect. You do not need to print new handbooks every time a change is made. But if you can, you should update your online version to reflect the changes and make sure your employees have access to it.
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About Employee Handbooks
Learn how to define employment benefits and expectations
How To Write an Employee Handbook
Every company has its own culture and rules. Sometimes, they happen organically, but it's always a good idea to get them down on paper. An Employee Handbook (sometimes called an Employee Manual) gets everyone on the same page with the same set of rules and makes sure all employees know what they're accountable for and what your expectations are from them. Rocket Lawyer has sections for everything from internet usage to dress codes, which let you tailor your employee handbook to fit your unique business needs.
Here are some of the sections you may want to include in your Employee Handbook template.
A welcome statement sets the tone as one of the first pieces of information new employees will read. You might include a friendly greeting or the company's mission statement, or a description of company culture.
Company Name and Contact Information
The Employee Handbook often includes the name of the company and any contact information the company wants to provide to its employees.
Exempt employees are generally not subject to the minimum wage and overtime laws. Exempt employees include those who are engaged in executive, managerial, high-level administrative and professional jobs and who are paid a fixed salary and perform certain duties. Other types of employees may be considered exempt. The full list is included in this clause.
Employees working in nonexempt jobs are generally entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage per hour and a premium for overtime. Employees who are covered by the federal or state minimum wage and overtime laws are considered nonexempt.
Full-Time and Part-Time Employees
There is no set amount of hours an employee must work to be considered full-time (or even part-time). An employee's classification is up to you. However, companies usually require 30-35 hours per week to be considered full-time. It's important to distinguish between full-time and part-time employees, because part-time employees usually don't receive employee benefits.
This clause defines temporary employment and can specify the duration of such employment. The employee classification is also usually set out in this clause. For example, an employer may want to clarify that all temporary employees are at-will employees.
Independent Contractor or Consultant
The main purpose of this clause is to make clear that independent contractors are not employees and are essentially self-employed. As a result, independent contractors are not entitled to benefits. Other sections of the clause may detail additional parts of the independent contractor’s responsibilities and further clarify the relationship between the employer and contractor.
Equal Employment Opportunity and Americans with Disabilities Act
This part of the Employee Handbook sets out the employer’s intention to comply fully with the Equal Employment Opportunity and Americans with Disabilities Act and the policies that underscore that intention. This section also communicates that the employer expects all employees to support and comply with these policies.
These days, information is easily accessible and can be copied and distributed with little effort. This makes businesses vulnerable to disclosure of their confidential business information. If employees will have access to the company's confidential information, the company may want them to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (sometimes called a Confidentiality Agreement) as a condition of their employment.
The handbook already includes a confidentiality policy, but more companies are requiring their employees to also sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to ensure their information remains private.
Employment of Minors
This statement in the Employee Handbook explains the requirements of the FLSA, which protects minor workers.
Employment of Relatives
Some companies may want to establish a written policy around hiring relatives of current employees and being notified of situations where one or more existing employees become relatives.
Introductory, Initial Employment, or Probationary Period
Some employers require all their employees to complete an introductory period before they're considered a regular employee. It is often considered a "trial" or "test" period, and is sometimes called a “Probationary Period.” The length or duration of the introductory period varies. As you go through the process of putting together your Employee Handbook with Rocket Lawyer, you will be able to specify the length of the probationary period.
Personnel Records and Employee References
Personnel records usually belong to the employer and are considered confidential, with access to these files typically limited to only those who have a legitimate reason to review them, including law enforcement personnel or local, federal, or state agencies conducting official investigations.
Employers use this clause in the Employee Handbook to lay out employee information that is considered private and how that private information will be handled and protected.
Immigration Law Compliance
This clause typically sets out federal I-9 requirements for employment eligibility verification, including verification of identity.
Employers may wish to include a clause affirming that the employer will not discriminate against any employees based on their political affiliations or positions. This clause can make clear, however, that employees should not represent that the employer shares those opinions or that the employee is representing the employer during outside political activities.
Additional Protections for Pregnant Employees
There are many state and federal laws that protect pregnant employees. For states that require this information be accessible to pregnant employees, this clause in the handbook outlines those rights and helps pregnant employees understand them in detail.
Overtime laws vary from state to state. This clause covers the rules and laws specific to the state in which the employee works. If you have specific overtime compliance questions, you can reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice and answers.
Rest and Meal Periods
Most companies offer their employees breaks during the day, for meals and/or rest, and this information becomes part of the employee manual. Certain states have specific requirements for meal and rest breaks for certain industries, where the type of work may be more tiresome, or involves more time on an employee's feet. Employers may indicate any specific industries as they customize the Employee Handbook so that the appropriate state law meal and rest break information for their employees can be included.
The Employee Handbook usually lays out company payroll procedures and practices so that employees will have a clear understanding of this essential part of their employment. Some of the clauses covered under payroll practices include, but are not limited to:
Employment Discrimination and Harassment
Specific information and requirements regarding employee training and employer policies and procedures are included here if federal and state laws require it.
Most Employee Handbooks have a policy addressing failure to come to work. Basically, it's included so that, if an employee stops showing up at work, the employer can consider them resigned from their position after the requisite time period.
Discipline and Standards of Conduct
This clause generally addresses the employer’s expectations and consequences for conduct that is deemed unacceptable and subject to disciplinary action.
Just as everyone dresses differently, every business has its own dress code, which is often included in some form of employee manual. Some companies require uniforms while others encourage individualism. If your employees will be working face to face with your customers, you may want to make sure they're dressed professionally. Whatever your needs, you can create a dress code that is in line with the company culture.
The Rocket Lawyer Employee Handbook includes this standard dress code: "What we wear to work is a reflection of the pride we have in our Company, in what we do, and in ourselves. Although dress code requirements will vary according to job responsibilities, we ask that your appearance at all times show discretion, good taste, and not present a hazard in the performance of your job."
Pets in the Workplace
This clause covers the employer’s policies regarding service animals, emotional support animals, and pets.
This safety clause confirms the employer’s commitment to a safe working environment and provides guidance on what employees should do if they encounter unsafe conditions in the workplace.
Substance and Abuse
This provision states the employer’s policies regarding the use, consumption, and possession of alcohol or drugs on company premises or during work hours on or off company premises.
This clause asserts the employer’s right to search all property on the company’s premises, including anything the employee possesses on the premises.
Internet, Email, and Computer Use
An Internet, Email, and Computer Use policy covers everything from company ownership of electronic media and communications to internet guidelines and proper usage. You have the option of including a general internet, email, and computer use policy in your Employee Handbook. This policy essentially says that all electronic devices (computers, cell phones, etc.), electronic communications (email, voicemail, text messages, etc.), and electronic files (software, documents, etc.) are company property and all usage should be for company-related business only. You will have a chance to review the handbook once you have completed the customization process.
This policy covers everything from social media guidelines and proper usage to company ownership of online contacts, such as "friends" and "followers." For more information on what's included, see the help provided.
Diversity and Inclusion
This policy sets forth the employer’s intention to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace. This detailed clause in the Employee Handbook template defines what diversity and inclusion means to the company and includes specific policies designed to proactively foster an inclusive culture. This clause informs employees of their right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity or expression. It also provides guidance on prohibited conduct and complaint procedures.
Some jobs require cell phone use. Others do not. The purpose of this clause is to set rules around employee use of cell phones during work hours and to set up company policies for employees who need to use a cell phone as part of their work responsibilities.
Employee Benefits and Services
Will your company offer benefits? Benefits that are required by law, such as worker's compensation and social security, have already been included in the Rocket Lawyer Employee Handbook. You can add in benefits such as health insurance, vacation, 401(k) and others if your company already offers these.
Typically, companies only offer employee benefits to full-time employees, but some companies offer benefits to employees who are part-time.
This clause describes Workers’ Compensation insurance and how employees might access its benefits should they become injured on the job.
Social Security and Unemployment Insurance
This clause briefly describes Social Security and Unemployment Insurance and how they work.
Time Off and Leaves of Absence
The section of the Employee Handbook gives the employer the opportunity to explain how employees request time off, the types of paid and unpaid leave available to them, and how much time is allowed.
Sick, Personal, and Vacation Days
Paid sick leave varies by location, there is no federally mandated paid sick leave. Most companies offer at least five sick, personal, and vacation days a year.
CA, MD and WA have statewide and local laws regarding paid sick leave. AZ, CT, MA, MI, NJ, OR, RI and VT offer statewide laws only. PA, IL, MN, NY and TX only offer sick leave policies by city. Washington D.C. has its own laws regarding paid sick leave.
In every state, it's lawful for employers to allow employees to carry over accrued and unused paid time off into the next year. An employer may choose to allow the carryover of time into the next year; to pay an employee out for such accrued time; or in some states, to give a deadline for using the accrued time and, if the time goes untaken, to reset the balance of accrued time to zero. This is often referred to as a "Use it or Lose it" policy, but is not permitted in some states.
In California, Montana, and Nebraska, employers are not allowed to adopt "use it or lose it" policies. Once earned, vacation time may not be forfeited.
Required sick leave can vary depending on your location and the number of employees you have. If you have any questions about your specific city or state’s paid sick leave policy, we suggest you speak with an attorney.
Paid Time Off Days
If the employer offers paid time off (PTO), this clause can be used to explain how the paid time off is accrued, what the limits are (if any), and whether or not unused PTO carries over into the next year.
Holidays - Paid
The most common types of paid holidays are provided for you in the Employee Handbook. You also have the option of a "floating holiday." A floating holiday can be used at the company's discretion for things like an employee birthday's or Election Day.
Other Types of Leave
Other specific types of required or optional paid or unpaid time off can also be addressed in the Employee Handbook, including, but not limited to: Pregnancy, Family and Medical Leave; Domestic Violence Leave and Accommodation; Workers’ Compensation Leave; Bereavement Leave; Jury Duty; Voting; Military and Military Family Leave; and Summer Fridays.
Acknowledgment of Receipt
Each employee will need to sign their own handbook.
Definitions of Employee Handbook Terms
A modification or adaptation of an employee's place of work or conditions of employment in order to assist them in fulfilling their job duties. Some statutes, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, require employers to make reasonable accommodations for certain employees. For example, an employer might make an accommodation for an employee with a disability that affects their mobility by making sure they have wheelchair access. A pregnant employee might need accommodations such as additional restroom breaks or limits on how much weight they must lift.
An arrangement between an employee and an employer in which (1) the employee may quit their job at any time, and (2) the employer may fire the employee at any time, as long as the reason for the firing does not violate laws against discrimination or retaliation and the employer does not violate contractual obligations to the employee. At-will employers may also be able to change other terms of employment, such as wages, benefits, and leave policies, for non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons. Every U.S. state except for Montana presumes that employment relationships are “at will.”
Information that an employer or employee wants to keep private. Employers typically have personal information about employees, such as Social Security numbers, that could cause harm if disclosed. Employees may have access to information that employers want to keep private, such as client lists, business plans, or salaries. Confidential information that an employer has worked to keep private, and which has value to the employer because it is not widely known, is known as “trade secrets.” Employees may face legal liability for disclosing or misusing trade secrets, either under a trade secret protection statute or a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Conflict of Interest
A situation that may occur when an employee’s personal interests do not align with the employer’s interests, giving the employee an opportunity to benefit themselves or someone else at the employer’s expense. Common conflicts of interest may include:
Self-dealing: An employee uses their access to the employer’s finances to benefit themselves.
Nepotism: An employee hires, promotes, or offers other benefits to a family member or friend, often to the exclusion of someone with better qualifications.
Avoiding conflicts of interest is important. In many situations, employers want to avoid anything that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
An employee who is not eligible for the benefits of certain federal or state employment statutes. For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) identifies groups of employees who are not covered by the statute’s provisions on minimum wage and overtime compensation. Exempt employees under the FLSA include people in professional, administrative, or executive positions. Many exempt employees receive salaries instead of hourly wages, although this is not a requirement.
An individual, business, or organization hired by an employer to perform specific functions, but who is not subject to the same degree of control by the employer as an employee would be. Independent contractors often have their own established businesses, and either work for one employer on a temporary basis or multiple employers at once. Most employment statutes, such as those dealing with minimum wage or workplace discrimination, do not apply to independent contractors.
An employee who is covered or protected by a federal or state employment statute that exempts certain other employees. The term is commonly used in reference to employees who are covered by the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While this is not a requirement of the FLSA or any other statute, nonexempt employees tend to receive an hourly wage instead of a salary.
Adverse employment actions by an employer, such as firing, demoting, refusing to promote, or cutting the pay of an employee because they engaged in certain legally-protected activities. Acts that the law protects against retaliation include:
Objecting to or reporting workplace discrimination or harassment.
Testifying in an investigation of the employer by a government agency.
Engaging in activities related to labor organizing.
Reporting suspected illegal or fraudulent activity by the employer, also known as “whistleblowing.”
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