The Employee Handbooks – A Lawyer’s view
Employee Handbooks is a must for any enterprise which wishes to maintain a certain amount of consistency in its operations. Be it a small business or big, an employee handbook is a perfect way to welcome new employees and introduce them to the firm’s culture and ways. It is also a way of upholding order and uniformity within the workplace. Additionally, depending on the number of employees an employer has, an employee handbook can protect you from liability by requiring an employee to take certain steps before liability bestows on the employer. Moreover, in some circumstances, it is a way that an employer will have an opportunity to correct an employee issue before the issue becomes a liability to the employer
Importance of Employee Handbooks
When new employees set foot for the first time in the workplace, there is always a small amount of nervousness and anxiety which they carry. An easy way to solve this is by making use of the employee handbook. A well defined and properly followed handbook does not enforce rules but gives a set of codes for the employees to follow, this easily does away with initial anxiety and confusion an employee would possess, when faced with unknown situations.
What goes into Employee Handbooks?
A really useful handbook is one which not only contains all of the significant policies of the organization but should be well-drafted wit the necessary information
so as to allow the employee to be self-sufficient and save a lot of the manager’s time.
Some of the more important constituents of a good employee handbook are
A welcoming note: is a good way to appreciate the employee’s contribution to the firmPayscalee, incentives and raise policy: this will give an idea as to what the organization values and how the employee will be rewarded for such value – addition.
Employee Benefits: a descriptive list of all the benefits an employee is entitled to and how to avail them.
Leaves & breaks: a list of paid and unpaid leaves, the break hour’s available and proper notification to concerned authority before taking of such a leave.
Precautions & safety measures: implemented to ensure the protection of the employees.
Emergency situations: Certain actions to follow during emergencies can also be included for better response to such an incidence.
Complaints and Grievances: it might not be possible to mention every aspect of work-related issues and hence a note on how to go about in such a situation or how to file a complaint should be mentioned.
Other Policies: Depending on your jurisdiction, and the number of employees in the corporation, there is a multitude of other policies an employer should consider. These include having an anti-discrimination policy, an FMLA policy, overtime guidelines, sick leave, vacation pay and bereavement policies:
It is very important that the employee handbook is drafted with an intention of adhering to it, as some unconditional promises might be legally binding if taken to court. The Handbook should also be drafted in a simple and thorough manner in order to avoid confusing the employees and misinterpreted in an unwanted manner.
Subject to Change from time to time
To maintain an effective and useful employee handbook, continuous review and changes should be done to factor in the latest relevant laws, ethics and also any other changes which the organization wishes to implement.
And, although generally speaking an employee handbook is not a contract, the employer should implement its policies consistently so as to limit the perception that a certain group or person is being discriminated. The employer should also make the employee acknowledge that the employee has received and read the handbook and will abide by its terms.
For additional information for employers as it concerns employee handbooks, please click here.
Arcadier, Biggie, and Wood, PLLC is an established law firm with over 40 years of combined experience and been serving Melbourne and Central Florida for over 13 years.