How to create an effective employee handbook
Employee Handbooks – Establish and Review with Ease with Nester Insurance
A well-designed employee handbook is an invaluable asset for a company to have. It can provide a communication gateway between management and employees concerning employer expectations, policies and company background. In addition, a handbook provides a consistent guide for individuals to follow—helping to minimize discrimination and favoritism claims. Beyond that, the document is evidence, in the event that an employee accuses the company of wrongful termination or discrimination, that policies were clearly laid out and accessible for all to reference.
A thorough employee handbook includes many sections and specific policies. Listed here are the sections applicable to most organizations and information about what each section might include. However, it is important to customize your handbook and include policies that are applicable to your business and its practices.
- Welcome and Purpose: This section welcomes the employee to the company and outlines the purpose of the handbook.
- At-will Employment Statement: This piece explains that the handbook is not a contract of employment, and that the employee or employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, with or without cause.
- Americans with Disabilities Policy: This section explains to employees how your company complies with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
- Employment Termination Policy: This section details reasons why an employee may be involuntarily terminated and explains the policy for submitting notice of resignation.
- Equal Employment Opportunity: This section allows you to assure prospective and current employees that discrimination is not tolerated at your company. This is also a good place to highlight your stance against harassment (race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, etc.).
- Code of Ethics Policy: This piece explains the company’s rules regarding making ethical choices including prohibition of improper payments and political contributions.
- Drug-free Workplace Policy: This policy explains that the company does not condone drug use, and prohibits it on the job, on company or customer premises, and in any vehicle used for company business.
Time Away From Work
- Communicable Disease Policy: This policy explains the procedure for dealing with employees with communicable diseases; employees with signs or symptoms must report them to HR, must be responsible for keeping the company informed of changes and must provide documentation of the illness. This piece also explains that individuals with communicable diseases will not be discriminated against.
- Contagious Illness Policy: This section explains the company’s desire to maintain a healthy workplace, and that if employees have contagious illnesses, they are asked to ensure that their presence at work poses no threat to other employees.
- Federal Family and Medical Leave Policy: This document explains that employees may use FMLA leave for qualified absences from work, and details notification and certification requirements for using said leave.
- Vacation Policy: This section serves to answer employee questions regarding how vacation pay is calculated, who is eligible, how many days employees are offered, how to request vacation and payout policies upon termination. It provides employees with detailed guidelines on how to take vacation days.
Information & Office Security
- Emergency Action Plan: Emergency action plans are procedures established to organize employee actions during workplace emergencies. This section contains information on reporting a fire, evacuation procedures, and rescue and medical duties. To reduce chaos during an emergency, this section provides the necessary guidance to keep employees safe.
- Facility Access & Visitors Policy: This section explains that, as a safety precaution, facility access and visitors are regulated employees must enter through the main door during staffed hours, or use their own key to enter other doors or to enter outside of staffed hours, and visitors to the facility must be accompanied by authorized personnel at all times.
- General Computer Usage Policy: This policy provides basic computer-use rules, with an emphasis on the company’s right to access information created, transmitted or stored on its information systems.
- Recording Devices Prohibited Policy: This section explains that the company prohibits the use of picture phones or other visual image recorders in areas such as bathrooms or locker rooms, in which employees expect a level of privacy.
Nester Insurance is here to help you establish your first handbook or review your current handbook, policies, and procedures. Contact us below for more information: