Does your small business really need an employee handbook? As a business owner, you may wonder if there’s any point in drafting an employee handbook. You suspect that many of your employees will barely thumb through it.
Just the same, these handbooks do have value. A well-worded handbook can set the ground rules for your employees, give them a sense of security and help you avoid potential litigation.
Mandatory details to include in your employee handbook
There are some details that the Departments of Labor for the US and your state require you to include in an employee handbook. You will also want to apprise yourself of all state laws and local regulations applicable to your company so that your handbook is compliant.
At a bare minimum, your employee handbook should include things like:
- A disclaimer that you abide by equal employment opportunity laws that prohibit discrimination when hiring, promoting or firing workers
- Details about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and any state equivalents in your handbook and how they apply to your business
- Details about workers’ compensation laws as well, and information injured employees can use to guide them after an injury
State or local lawmakers may also require you to include specific information about when employees are entitled to leave, such as when called upon for jury duty, after becoming a crime victim, when they need to breastfeed, or when called to active duty by the military or reserves.
Other considerations when drafting your employee handbook
You may want to address things like the employee discipline policy, security procedures, safety guidance and anything that may apply to the work culture you want to promote within your business.
It’s also best if you always include a disclaimer in any new edition of your handbook so that employees know when that version was drafted and that it supersedes any prior version. You should also point out that these policies are always subject to change according to need.
You may find it to be quite a daunting task to determine what laws and regulations apply to your California company. An attorney can help you figure out which ones are relevant to your company, guide you on what to include and help you avoid unnecessary litigation.