An employee handbook performs several valuable functions. It can answer employee questions about benefits, holidays and company policies; specify what an employer’s expectations are for employees; help convey your firm’s sense of professionalism to current and prospective employees; and help keep your company out of court. If you’ve been putting off writing such a manual, the Legal Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business has a model employee handbook that can make your job easier. To download a copy, go to www. nfib.com, click on the link for the legal foundation, then the one for “useful resources.” While companies can pick and choose which sections of the 35-page document to use, the NFIB recommends that all employee handbooks contain the following items:
(1) an employment at-will disclaimer; (2) a statement regarding equal employment opportunity; (3) a policy prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment; (4) rules concerning privacy and use of company property; (5) employment classification and overtime rules; (6) a policy on family and medical leave if you have 50 or more employees; and (7) safety and disciplinary guidelines. Don’t forget to have an employment lawyer review the manual. While compiling your own document is a good money-saver for small businesses, you should always have a legal expert look it over.
Lois Levine has more than 20 years experience in magazine publishing, having worked as an editor for publications that include Rolling Stone, Working Woman, Her New York, Where New York (editor in chief) and Bloomberg Personal Finance (managing editor). She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.