4 Essential Elements to Include in your Employee Handbook

employee handbook

There are laws in place that require employers to notify employees of certain workplace rights, through means such as posters or direct handouts.  Illinois laws do not require companies to provide an official employee handbook to each employee.  However, it is definitely a good policy to do so.  This way, every employee knows exactly what to expect right from the start. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to review company procedures, new hire documents and especially the employee handbook.  Here are some essential topics to cover in yours.

Company Policies

Every company has their own set of policies in place that they expect employees to follow.  Therefore, it is important to make them aware of these policies from day one.  Your employee handbook should clearly state information regarding company policies such as:

  • Allowable paid time off, such as sick days, vacation days or family and medical leave time, if applicable
  • Benefits and eligibility
  • Payroll information, such as disbursement of paychecks, overtime policies, etc.
  • Business operating hours

Company Culture

An employee handbook should contain some information about the company itself, the workplace environment, and its legal acknowledgement of important policies pertaining to employee safety and well-being. This could include topics such as:

  • Company history
  • Company mission statement
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion statement
  • Antidiscrimination / equal employment policy
  • Harassment policies
  • Complaint procedures

Employee Expectations

An employee’s successful performance on the job depends on their understanding of what is expected of them.  The employee handbook should detail these expectations including topics such as:

  • Code of conduct which explains how they are expected to conduct themselves while on company premises
  • Attendance expectations
  • Dress code policies
  • Smoking policies on company premises
  • Acceptable use of company computers
  • Texting or social media use while at work
  • Employee conflict resolution

General Disclaimers

Every employee handbook should include some general legal disclaimers that state:

  • The handbook is not a contract or guarantee of continued employment
  • Policies can change at any time
  • The handbook allows room for employer interpretation, as not every situation can be addressed

In addition to a thorough employee handbook, you should also consider which other important documents you want to include in your new hire packet.  For instance, non-disclosure agreements are used to protect sensitive company information, and non-compete agreements are useful to discourage your employees from bringing their work experience to competing companies.

The attorneys at Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd. have decades of experience in business law and we provide legal guidance to our business clients in all aspect of their operations, including crucial employee documents.  We can help your business avoid litigation by creating a comprehensive employee handbook, along with other important policies and procedures.  Contact us to learn more at 847-223-1500 or https://grayslakelaw.com/practice-areas/business-law/.