Why do I need an Employee Handbook?

Dear M & M:

Why would I need an employee handbook, I only have 6 employees?

– Jim

Dear Jim:

Regardless of how many employees a business may have an employee handbook serves many purposes. A handbook should reflect the way your company does business. It isn’t all about the business owners rules and regulations against the worker.

A good employee handbook shows the employees that you are going to be straightforward and upfront about what you expect and what happens if you don’t. It is a place to spell out the rules regarding, use cell phone, social media, dress code, and who to see if they are having any problems.

It is also a great format to provide information about insurance coverage, leave, how to request vacation time, and provide information about other benefits offered. It enables everyone to follow the same rules so everyone is treated consistently and fairly. A good handbook should encourage employees to behave a certain way.

A handbook should be in compliance with federal, state and local laws. You do not need to go into detail and spell out every applicable law on the books, but a general statement reflecting that you intend to comply with all applicable laws should be sufficient. An employee’s handbook can serve as legal defense for actions taken.

As always one should get advice from a qualified attorney or someone knowledgeable about the rules and laws regulating employment. Remember even the best written handbook will not be beneficial to you or your employees if they don’t have access to it.

A poorly written handbook that is unprofessional shows you don’t really care about your employees. Make sure you have a place where employees can sign acknowledging they received it, read it and understood it.

Two great reasons for creating an employee handbook if you don’t have one, it will allow you to take a look at some of the policies you have in place and give you a chance to rewrite or update what you currently have to improve or clarify existing policies and in conclusion, a well written handbook can provide documentation to protect you when resolving disputes.

-M&M

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