What Must be Included in an Employee Handbook?

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The employee handbook—it’s a set of expectations that everyone within the organization can follow. It’s a supervisory tool. It’s your “rules of the road.” It’s one of your best organizational protections and is the cornerstone of compliance and employee communications. Because of that, you should make sure that it is regularly updated; has required federal, state and local compliance language; and can be accessible by anyone in the organization, at any time.

Keep reading to find out a high-level overview of some of the items that need to be in every handbook, and download our eBook, The 30-Minute Guide to HR: A Quick Guide to Success in HR for the Busy and Confused, to get the “Should-Have’s” and “Nice-to-Have’s” checklists for handbooks.

Organizational Basics

  • Setting the stage for employment
  • Disclaimer
  • Handbook acknowledgement: Must be signed and dated by employee and placed in employee file by the employer

Legal Information

  • Equal Employment Opportunity statement
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act statement
  • Americans with Disabilities Act statement
  • Harassment Prevention
  • Employment At-Will

Time Off

  • Family Medical Leave Act statement (if you have 50 or more employees in locations within 75 miles of each other)
  • Managing required leaves of absence or time off

Policies

  • Confidentiality
  • Access to employee records

Managing Breaks

  • Lunches and breaks
  • Break time for nursing mothers

Compensation

  • Proof of authorization to work
  • Employment status
  • Employment classifications
  • Overtime
  • Compensatory time (public entities only)
This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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