Your employees need to know what you expect of them. Moreover, they need to know what you expect them not to do. You need policies and procedures in place to handle a variety of issues, some of them legally required. Your employees also need a clear indication of what they can expect in terms of compensation, which can encompass more than just payroll.
The more comprehensive your employee handbook is, the better you can protect your business in the event something goes wrong. For instance, if you receive harassment claims or need to terminate an employee.
What makes a comprehensive employee handbook
The law doesn't require you to have an employee handbook, but it not only protects your business, it also protects your employees. Federal and Arizona laws require you to provide a safe and non-hostile workplace, and your handbook can prove you strive to do so if you end up in court for some reason. In order to cover as many bases as possible, you may want to consider including the following topics:
- Anti-discrimination, harassment and retaliation
- Complaint procedures
- Investigative procedures for complaints
- Safety standards
- Safety policies and procedures
- Training requirements
- Compensation and benefits
- Terms of employment
- Equal employment policy
- Vacation and sick time
- Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
- Payroll deductions
- Final paychecks and unused paid time off
- COBRA notifications
- Attendance and time policies
- Code of conduct
- Mobile devices
- Dress code
- Drug-free workplace policies
- Social media
- Conflict of interest
- Business travel
- Intellectual property
- General disclaimers
As you can see, you have a lot to cover in the employee handbook. You may have other policies and procedures you want to include based on the industry and type of business. You also need to include an acknowledgement for your employees to sign indicating they receive a copy of the handbook, understand the contents and agree to abide by its contents.
The other consideration is the fact that you need to review your employee handbook often. You may need to update it based on new laws or because the current policies and procedures no longer work well. The more you keep the handbook up-to-date and relevant, the better. You will need to make sure that your handbook always complies with current federal and state laws in order to avoid any potential legal complications.