There is no law requiring that you have an employee handbook, but an employee handbook can be very helpful in documenting all your policies in one place and making your policies consistent with State and Federal law. An employee handbook should be tailored to the employer and should not be borrowed from another organization. Failure to create or maintain a well-drafted employee handbook can be a liability to the employer.
You have policies and procedures, but they may be in the form of memos or statements to employees. Rather than assume that the employees know the company policies and procedures, it is good practice to organize these policies in one place documenting you have communicated these policies and procedures to the employees.
For those employers who have employee handbooks, it is important to annually review them to ensure they are up to date. Employment laws constantly change and it is important to review the handbook so it is in compliance with the latest State and Federal laws. An annually updated employee handbook will provide you with the proper legal defenses in case you are sued in an employment law case. Employee handbooks won’t guarantee that you will not be sued in an employment lawsuit, but they can help you avoid lawsuits and assist in defending you if they are used properly. If your managers are informed and understand the employee handbook and your employees are informed about the rules and expectations of them, then you will have gone a long way in avoiding employment law disputes. Many employment law disputes occur because of a lack of communication and misunderstandings. If you take the time to actually place your personnel policies in a handbook and educate your managers and employees about the policies, it’s more likely you will do a better job of keeping your employees informed of what is expected of them and avoid miscommunications that lead to disputes.
There are certain subjects that should be in your employee handbook depending on the type of business and the number of employees, and what your practices have been in the past. One item that is essential is a disclaimer that the handbook is not a contract of employment and does not change the employee-at-will relationship. This disclaimer is important if you don’t want your handbook to be a contract of employment. The next item in the employee handbook is a description of the company’s business and a mission statement to communicate the culture of the company and what is important to the company. The handbook can be a tool to explain to employees what the big picture of the company is and what it is trying to accomplish. Once these preliminary provisions are drafted, the next step is to document employment policies and procedures that govern the daily operations of the company.
You want your employee handbook to be the definitive authority on your current policies and procedures, but also give your company the flexibility to vary from company policy depending the circumstances of the situation. The handbook will supersede all previously issued employee handbooks and any inconsistent verbal or written policy statements made or issued before an updated employee handbook. Except for the policy of at-will employment, you will want to reserve the right to revise, delete and add to the provisions of the employee handbook.
Draft handbook policies and procedures that tend to identify desired conduct of employees, rather than promised conduct of management. All managers should be thoroughly trained to understand the employee handbook and employees should sign and acknowledge that they have received and reviewed it.
We offer a flat fee package to develop your employee handbook based on the number of employee, status of operation, the length of your current handbook and objectives for the handbook.
Please contact us now so we can create or update your employee handbook.