An Employee Handbook organizes and contains company policies and procedures. There are numerous reasons for employers to choose to issue an Employee Handbook or Employer Policy Manual. Although there is no federal or Florida law requiring private employers to provide a handbook, there are some communications you are required to make to your employees.
Employee Handbook FAQs:
- An Employee Handbook introduces new employees to the company, gives the company a chance to set forth your expectations for your employees, and provides an introduction to the company;
- Makes it easier to ensure that all employees receive notice of the company’s policies;
- An Employee Handbook creates a centralized place for employees to look for answers and guidance on your company’s practices and expectations, and what to do in various situations; and
- An Employee Handbook and signed acknowledgments of receipt can assist in an employer’s legal defense, such as when non-compliance leads to termination of employment or another kind of adverse employment action.
Do Not Inadvertently Create a Contract:
- Employee Handbooks must be drafted in a manner that does not create legal obligations that the employer did not intend, and contain provisions reserving certain employer rights. Preparation of the handbook or at least review by your counsel is crucial.
Maintaining a Handbook:
- Employers must review handbooks periodically to ensure that all policies are current and lawful. At a minimum, a handbook must be reviewed and revised, if necessary, when there is a change in the law, employer policies or procedures, and when the employer expands into new states.
Compliance with the State Law and National Labor Relations Act:
- Employers must ensure their handbooks are drafted in compliance with applicable state and federal employment laws.
- Both unionized and nonunionized employers must ensure their policies comply with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
- Consistently Apply your Policies and Treat all Employees Equally when applying Policies.
Common Categories of Policies Contained in a Handbook:
- Privacy, Confidentiality and Proprietary Information.
- Wages and Payroll
- Work Schedules and Leave
- Employee Benefits
- Internet, computer, phone and tablet use.
Each month, we receive numerous calls from clients with employees who would like to make a change in how they handle anything from payroll to work hours to ethics matters and use of computers, mobile phones, tablets, internet, social media and websites. Without policies and procedures in place, and without a clear statement of expectations, clients often find themselves stuck on making changes and communicating expectations.
Policies are governed by both federal law and state specific law and regulations. Compliance with both is a necessity. The Federal Department of Labor has a terrific tool called Elaws Adviser. We recommend our clients review and use that tool in addition to calling us for advice. It covers wage and hour laws as well as other important matters such as determining if someone and independent contractor or an employee.