A complete and updated employee handbook is a must-have requirement for every business, but you’d be surprised by how many don’t have one.
Unfortunately, without one of these trusty handbooks, you’re actually leaving yourself open to numerous problems like lawsuits, issues with employees, and much more.
By the time you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll understand why having a complete and updated employee handbook keeps you out of hot water.
- Set behavioural expectations
Employees need to know what their roles and responsibilities are when they become an employee of your organisation.
Your employee handbook should establish the kind of behavioural standards that are expected of them. This should encompass areas like daily dress code, inappropriate ways to speak with colleagues, timekeeping, planning holidays, and so much more.
Essentially, it should cover all the behaviours you want your employees to embody so that your company can run harmoniously. You want everyone to be on the same page and by including behavioural expectations upfront they will be able to familiarise themselves with this code of conduct as soon as they’re employed.
- Explain company benefits, salary, and overtime
An employee handbook is a great chance to showcase your company’s benefits to employees. In this section, you want to make sure to include annual leave schemes, sick leave, maternity leave schemes, insurance policies, retirement payments and more.
It should also cover areas like how much an employee shall earn if she works overtime, weekend pay rates, payouts in the event of employment termination, and more. If you’re clear upfront with the benefits you offer, then employees cannot claim that they were unaware of them nor can terminated employees cannot contest them.
- Defend your company
An employee handbook will help defend your company in the event of lawsuits filed by former disgruntled employees and also prevent lawsuits from occurring in the first place.
The reason this is so important is because in your employee handbook, you want to make sure behavioural expectations are clearly stated upfront. If an employee breaches any of these, they are grounds for termination. Therefore, it becomes very hard for former employees to mount any kind of successful lawsuit against your company.
A crucial point we must make is that employees must sign your employee handbook as acknowledgement they have read and understand its contents. Without this signature, they could still pursue legal action against you in the event of things turning sour between you and the employee in question.
- State key company policies
You want to make sure that key policies of the company like harassment policies, drug and alcohol policies, and more are clearly stated.
All employees need to be aware of what your company’s position is in regards to these kinds of areas. In the event that harassment issues are raised by employees, then you have your employee handbook as a reference to help you resolve those issues and also with how to deal with them appropriately.
It’s also a law in many countries now for companies to ensure they are compliant with laws that relate to harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
- Workplace safety
There are a couple of reasons why your employee handbook must contain your company’s workplace health and safety policy. One is that it’s in your best interests to maintain a safe workplace for your employees. Second, it protects you against any unsafe workplace claims in the event of an employee injury.
All employees must be aware of your company’s workplace safety policies and adhere to them. In the event that an injury occurs, which is covered in your company workplace safety policy, responsibility lies on the employee and not the company.
You can now see why a complete and up to date employee handbook is absolutely crucial to protecting your company against a range of legal issues. The reality is that if you don’t have one then you leave yourself exposed to a whole world of problems that could very easily be avoided.
If some of this seems confusing or if you need a little clarity and advice about what to include specifically in your employee handbook, then get in touch today.