Importance of Employee Handbooks or Personnel Policy Manuals
Handbooks or policy manuals can set the tone for a business. They put all the employees on the same page with respect to workplace rules. They outline benefits for uniform and consistent treatment of employees, and they set forth the legal obligations of the employer.
Having an employee handbook or policy manual can show a good faith effort by an employer to comply with applicable laws, like EEOC, FMLA, and FLSA.
Types of polices to consider including in handbooks or policy manuals are internet usage at work, personal cell phone usage at work, attendance/ punctuality, confidentiality and use of social media. If a business has decided employees will serve “at-will,” they should not include policies outlining probationary, introductory or trial periods, grievance procedures, or a lock-step discipline process. These types of policies in many states could be interpreted as a guarantee of work or a contract between the employer and the employee effectively eliminating an employee’s at-will status.
Employee handbooks or policy manuals should be tailored for each specific business; one size does not fit all when it comes to these documents. Employee handbooks or policy manuals make for better workplaces, because employees know what to expect and what is expected of them.
Lawsuits are major concern with most employers. The past decade has seen a big increase in lawsuits based on sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, hiring practices and poorly drafted employee handbooks.
These lawsuits can put a substantial financial burden on you the employer.
The average dollar amount being awarded to employees against employers
is now in the $500,000 range with some over a million dollars.
Why Having an Employee Handbook is Important
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that business owners can protect themselves against damages and liability from employee lawsuits by providing clear written policies covering the rights and responsibilities of their employees. Most any attorney will tell you how important an employee handbook is to your business; even the smallest business should have one.
Preventing Employee Lawsuits
Providing an employee handbook can reduce your chances of employee lawsuits and at the same time provide valuable information to your employees.
Having information in a clear printed format for employees, explaining your company policies and what is expected of them can prevent future problems and misunderstandings an employee may have about their job or employer.
An employee handbook also increases the efficiency and shortens the training period for new employees. Studies show when employees have clear guidelines and policies to follow, the chances of staying with their employer increases substantially and the chances of the employer being sued are reduced.
Here Are Some Subjects That Should be Covered
Absences Military Service
Attire Requirements Performance Review
Breaks Personal Time Off
Communication Policy Provisionary Period
Continuation Of Medical Benefits Retirement Plans
Dismissal Safety And Accident Rules
Dress Code Salary Paid Employees
Drugs And Alcohol Separation From Employment
Employment Classification Sexual Harassment
Equal Opportunity Sick Leave
Exit Interview Smoking
Family Medical Leave Act Substance Abuse
Health And Life Insurance Termination
Holidays Time Off
Hourly Paid Employees/Overtime Use Of Company Computers
Immigration Law Compliance Use Of Company Property
Jury Duty Workman’s Compensation
Layoff And Recall Vacations
Lunch Periods Maternity Leave