Having an effective and all-encompassing employee handbook can insulate your company from liability, clarify potential employment contract disputes, and help your business run smoothly. Crafting an employee handbook is especially important for new businesses, including small businesses.
The Value of a Good Employee Handbook
Lots of business owners do not see the incredible value of having a good employee handbook until it is too late and they are facing an employee dispute that is threatening to turn into full-blown litigation. The reality is that the employment contract that business owners generally use when they hire workers only skims the surface of the employment relationship that is set to follow. Fleshing the contract out so it includes more details, though, turns the hiring process into a dreadful marathon.
Providing an employee handbook that answers all of the questions that the employee may have during his or her time at your company is widely seen as the best way to handle this situation. The information is provided, and the employee can review it at their leisure.
What Needs to be Included in the Handbook?
While the terms and provisions in your employee handbook should reflect your company's needs and concerns, there are some parts that fundamental to every handbook. These include:
- A definition of the employment relationship
- An acknowledgement that the employee has received the handbook
- Work authorization statement
- Your company's leave policies, including:
- Vacation and paid time off
- Paid sick leave
- Unpaid sick leave
- Jury duty leave
- Voting leave
- Bereavement leave
- Parental leave policy, including the policy under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Military leave
- Emergency medical leave
- Your company's payment and compensation policies, including:
- Direct deposit or other payment methods
- Overtime and minimum wage policies
- Employee healthcare insurance and other benefits
- Details about meal and rest breaks
- A company code of conduct, which includes:
- Anti-discrimination and equal employment opportunities
- Sexual harassment policy
- Drug and alcohol rules
- Social media policy
- Prohibitions of workplace violence
- Employee confidentiality policies
- Employee conflict of interest rules
- Relocation compensation and clawback policy
These are just some of the most important provisions that should be included in an employee handbook. Depending on your company's needs and most pressing concerns, other provisions should be included, as well.
The Massachusetts Employment Lawyers at the Katz Law Group Can Help
If done well, an employee handbook will thoroughly explain all of the essential details about a particular job at your company. It tells employees their rights in the workplace and the expectations that your company has of them. By removing any ambiguity surrounding their role and place in your company, a good employee handbook can end a lawsuit well before it even gets off the ground.
The employment attorneys at the Katz Law Group have helped numerous business owners put together employee handbooks that are effective and catered to their unique needs. Contact them online or call their law office at (508) 480-8202 for help in Worcester, Framingham, or Marlborough, or in Middlesex County or Norfolk County.