How To Write & Create an Employee Handbook

Companies of all sizes should take the time to write a handbook. Employee handbooks create cohesion and structure in the workplace. They also help both decision makers and workers understand company policies and processes. Employees will know what is expected of them and the protocol of the work environment.

The Top 5 Things To Include In an Employee Handbook

To comply with both California and federal law, employee handbooks should include:

  1. An At-Will Disclaimer: In California, this policy can help shield a company from a wrongful termination lawsuit. The disclaimer should clearly state that the at-will policy cannot be modified at any time.
  2. Leave Policies: Promises about leave are legally enforceable. A policy should stipulate the types of leave that are paid and unpaid and include verbiage about temporary disability, pregnancy leave, and transfer. A company must reference the California Family Rights Act when writing a benefit policy.
  3. Payment Policies: Be sure to describe which types of employees are exempt and non-exempt. Explain workweeks and workdays, timekeeping, meals, and breaks. Finally, the policy should include federal/state holidays, pay dates, and information about fringe benefits.
  4. Discipline: Include information about performance reviews, discipline, and termination. Describe what happens to an employee when they abandon their jobs. Do not include information about disciplinary escalation, because this type of policy can imply that an employee cannot be terminated at will.
  5. Resignation: If a worker quits, describe the resignation procedure clearly. Be sure to include a policy about returning an organization’s property such as document and equipment.

The employee handbook should also include a sexual harassment policy, a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol, and information about the Americans With Disabilities Act. Most employee handbook creator software includes templates for crafting these policies.

Creating an Employee Handbook

When writing the handbook, include a table of contents to organize company policies clearly for employees. Other considerations include:

  • Making the handbook available in Spanish.
  • Having both print and electronic copies.
  • Including signature pages for new hires.
  • Implementing a policy for revising the handbook.

FAQs are also helpful and should summarize each policy. The handbook should list the contact information for an organization’s human resources officer. Employee handbook creator templates are great for crafting company policy.

Providing Information and Preventing Liability

A well-crafted handbook defines workplace expectations, sets the standard for behavioral expectations, and ensures that an organization treats its members consistently. A handbook is also the first line of defense against unemployment claims, lawsuits, and other types of disputes.