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chapter 6

WHAT SHOULD I PUT IN MY EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK?

If you’re in the beginning stages of building your HR department, then one of the first—and arguably most important—projects you’ll have is to complete an Employee Handbook. By definition, an Employee Handbook contains company policies and procedures. Every new hire, along with every current employee, needs to sign this handbook (after reviewing it, of course). Your employee should sign the last page of handbook, give that page to you, but keep the handbook itself. That way they your employees agree to comply with the company guidelines. They should keep their own copy just in case they have any questions in the future.

Of course, every company’s different, so you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions before you get started. For example, do you promote flexible hours or work-from-home policy? You can make that clear. Is your company a phone-based business? If so, you might not need a dress code.

The chart below will give you a nice overview of what needs to be included and addressed in the handbook. Of course, depending on your company’s culture and personality, you may want to add or delete certain details. Also, you might need a second pair of eyes to ensure your Employee Handbook is compliant with the law. It’s always smart to ask a lawyer if your handbook and hiring practices are above-board.

These sections should be in your employee handbook

Harassment & Discrimination

Why this section is important: This section should list your company’s equal opportunity workplace policies.

Details you should include:

  • Your equal opportunity employer position

  • Your zero-tolerance for harassment illegal discrimination in the workplace

  • Your process for employees to report such violations

  • Your process for responding to these claims

  • The fact that employees won’t be punished for making such claims

Safety & Security

Why this section is important: This section will cover your policy for establishing a safe workplace for all employees, including your company’s compliance with federal and state health and safety laws.

Details you should include:

  • Your pledge to create a safe working environment

  • Your employees’ responsibility to follow physical and IT policies for safety and security

  • Your employees’ responsibility under federal law to report to management all accidents, injuries, hazards, etc.

Wages & Working Hours

Why this section is important: You want to make especially clear all matters concerning your employees’ pay, pay categories (full-time, part-time, etc.), time spent at work, etc.

Details you should include:

  • Working days and hours

  • Holidays observed

  • Timekeeping

  • Breaks and meal times

  • Pay periods

  • Tax withholding

  • Benefits withholding

  • Overtime pay

  • Salary increases

Behavior & Conduct

Why this section is important: This section should cover a fairly wide range of topics concerning your expectations about employees’ behavior and conduction while working and interacting with you, other employees, and individuals outside the company.

Details you should include:

  • Attendance

  • Tardiness

  • Dress code

  • Confidentiality

  • Personal calls

  • Internet conduct

  • Email conduct

  • Drug/alcohol policy

  • Social media policy

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