- Definitions of full and part-time employment;
- Work times and shifts, and tardiness policies;
- Lunch and break periods;
- Vacation and sick leave policies and schedules;
- Dress and grooming codes;
- Drug policies and testing;
- Emergency procedures;
- Use of company property;
- Email, telephone, and Internet use and policies;
- Compensation and benefits;
- Retirement plans;
- Performance evaluations;
- Promotions and job postings;
- Disciplinary proceedings; and
- Have strong, clear writing. Your handbook needs to use direct, simple writing that is easy to understand. Don’t use complicated grammatical structures that confuse the reader, and stay away from overly technical legal jargon.
- Use a disclaimer to limit your liability. If you include a brief statement spelling out that the handbook is for informational purposes only, not a binding contract, and that you can change it at any time, you can protect yourself from employment discrimination suits. Put it in large, bold type in an easy to find spot. You might choose to include a statement that employment is “at will.” This means that either the employee or the business can end the employment relationship at any time.
- Get an expert opinion. Your employee handbook needs to conform to standards established by workplace laws. To ensure compliance, have an expert in employment law either write or review your handbook.
- Review and update. When company policy or even workplace law changes, you need to update the handbook appropriately. At minimum, have an annual review to make sure that everything is still correct. Whenever you do need to make a change to the handbook, follow this four-step notification process which is the result of several court cases:
a.Post a notice of an impending revision.
b.Issue the revised handbook to your employees before it becomes effective.
c.Include a statement on the front page giving the effective date of the handbook.
d.Clearly revoke all previous editions of the handbook, both by putting it in writing in the new handbook and even by having employees sign a form acknowledging that the old handbook is no longer valid.