An employee handbook, sometimes also known as an employee manual or staff handbook, is a book given to employees by an employer. Usually, the employee handbook contains information about company policies and procedures.
The employee handbook can be used to bring together employment and job-related information which employees need to know, such as holiday arrangements, company rules and disciplinary and grievance procedures. It can also provide useful source of information to new staff as part of the induction process. A written employee handbook gives clear advice to employees and creates a culture where issues are dealt with fairly and consistently.
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While it often varies from business to business, specific areas that an employee handbook may address include:
A welcome statement, which may also briefly describe the company’s history, reasons for its success and how the employee can contribute to future successes. It may also include a mission statement, or a statement about a business’ goals and objectives.
Definitions of full- and part-time employment, and benefits each classification receives. In addition, this area also describes timekeeping procedures (such as defining a “work week”). This area may also include information about daily breaks (for lunch and rest).
Information about employee pay and benefits (such as vacation and insurance). Usually, new employees are awarded some benefits, plus additional rewards i.e. additional vacation and pay raises) after having worked for a company for a certain period of time. These are spelled out in this section.
Expectations about conduct and discipline policies. These sections include conduct policies for such areas as sexual harassment, alcohol and drug use, and attendance; plus, grounds for dismissal (i.e., getting fired) and due process. This area may also include information about filing grievances with supervisors and/or co-workers, and communicating work-related issues with supervisors and/or company managers.
Guidelines for employee performance reviews (such as how and when they are conducted).
Policies for promotion or demotion to a certain position.
Rules concerning mail; use of the telephone, company equipment, Internet and e-mail; and employee use of motor vehicles for job assignments.
Procedures on handling on-the-job accidents, such as those that result in injury.
How an employee may voluntarily terminate his/her job (through retirement or resignation), and exit interviews.
A requirement that employees keep certain business information confidential. This area usually includes information about releasing employee records and information, as well as who may retrieve and inspect the information.