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  • Jody McLeod

Handbook or not, that is the question...

In the current tight labor environment where employers battle for talent, a handbook is a good idea for employers large and small. A well written handbook can assist all employers in avoiding workplace litigation because it spells out, in positive terms, the business’ rules, policies and expectations so their employees know what to expect from the employer and what is expected of them.

Many employers look at a handbook as more of a business’ ‘playbook’ that is clear and concise, specific to the business and not focused on negativity. A playbook allows both employees and employers clarity in the workplace so business gets done.

Below are some key benchmarks that a good handbook should contain:

§ A handbook should spell out the company’s policies and expectations in positive terms

§ A handbook should talk about the business’ history and its mission going forward

§ The handbook should be given at the start of the employee's employment

§ The employee should sign and acknowledge their agreement with the terms outlined in the handbook

§ The handbook should contain an anti-harassment/ non-discrimination policy

§ The handbook should contain a simple and clear internal reporting procedure for any issues that is followed

§ The handbook should contain at-will employment language for all employees

§ The handbook should state that it is only a handbook and is not an expressed or implied contract guaranteeing employment

§ A handbook should state that it supersedes any previous policy statements (written or verbal) and is subject to change by the employer at any time

§ A handbook should contain important information around pay practices and benefits such as PTO and sick leave, working hours, dress code, employee behaviors and expectations and the like

A handbook is a good tool for both the employee and the employer to ensure limited disruptions in the work environment, allowing work to be the focus.

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