EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK AND POLICY CONSIDERATIONS
INITIAL THOUGHTS FOR EMPLOYERS:
- Reasons to adopt: fairness, provide all notices (FMLA, WC, non-discrimination, etc), makes expectations clear, due process, avoids lawsuits, paying unemployment and paying for unused leave;
- Different employee types: e.g. manufacturing, skilled vs. certificated, staff vs. administration
- Simpler the better: use of simple language is important.
- Be prepared to enforce the policies;
- Tone of the handbook: e.g. why regular attendance is good vs. why absenteeism is bad.
LEGAL POLICIES TO INCLUDE:
- At-will employment statement;
- Family medical leave policy (paid or unpaid, concurrence);
- Equal employment and non-discrimination policy;
- Worker's compensation policy;
- Anti-discrimination policies: general non-discrimination statement, accommodation of employees with disabilities; policies on breast-feeding and employee on employee harassment/discrimination.
EXAMPLES OF INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC POLICIES:
- Bans on smoking, substance abuse;
- Internet or e-mail policy;
- Dress code policy;
- Student privacy;
- Personnel records privacy;
- Confidential records policy.
- History: May include company history and goals;
- No contract: The handbook does not change the nature of at-will employment;
- Handbook is supreme: The handbook supersedes unwritten or written policy;
- Changes: The policies in the handbook may change at discretion of employer;
- Paid time-off: information on holidays, sick leave, family medical leave, and other types of leave (jury
- duty, military family, assault leave, etc);
- Employee behavior expectations: Be general about expectations of employee conduct;
- Attendance policy: Warnings, termination, include any meal and rest periods provided;
- Pay and promotions: Define pay periods, overtime policy, work hours, eligibility for bonuses or stock options;
- Performance evaluation process, if any;
- Benefits: Provide a general overview of benefits - health care, dental, vision, life insurance, etc., but no specific policies or companies. Include FT/PT eligibility and enrollment periods;
- Employee acknowledgement: include an acknowledgment and understanding page that the employee signs and returns to be kept in file.