Water Well Journal

July 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/692787

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Page 53 of 87

A n employee handbook is an important tool you can use to effectively communicate information regarding your company's policies, practices, and employee benefits. A well-written handbook sets forth your expectations for your employees, and describes what they can expect from your company. Deciding which topics to include in your employee hand- book can be a challenging task. There are certain policies every handbook should contain—regardless of the size or type of employer. Even if you decide to create a handbook on your own, I advise you to have an employment attorney review the policies to ensure legal compliance and effectiveness. As a starting point, the U.S. Small Business Administration suggests including the following eight topics. 1. General Employment Information Provide a general overview of your business and lay out its basic policies relating to employment eligibility, job classifications, employee referrals, employee records, job postings, termination and resignation procedures, transfers and relocation, and union information, if applicable. 2. Anti-Discrimination Policies As an employer, you must comply with applicable state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment, such as the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII. Your employee handbook should include a section about these laws, and how your employees are expected to comply. This section is also a good place to set out your sexual harassment policy, any affirmative action policies, and a statement of your compliance with all employment discrimi- nation and related legal requirements. 3. Compensation Clearly explain your business will make required deduc- tions from employees' pay for federal and state taxes, as well as voluntary deductions for the company's benefits programs. In addition, you should outline your legal obligations regard- ing overtime pay, pay schedules, time-keeping records, and meal and rest breaks. Be sure to comply with any applicable state wage and hour laws in addition to federal requirements. 4. Work Schedules Describe your business firm's policies regarding work hours and schedules, attendance, punctuality and reporting absences, along with guidelines for flexible schedules and telecommuting, if offered. 5. Standards of Conduct Make sure you document your expectations of how you want employees to conduct themselves, from dress code to computer and telephone use. A policy and corresponding writ- ten acknowledgment for the company's right to monitor em- ployees' use of electronic communications systems should be included. Telephone calls in and out of the company's phone systems, use of its email, and use of the Internet on the busi- ness' computers all constitute "electronic communications." In addition, it is important to remind your employees of any legal obligations they may need to comply with on the job (for example, state your business' legal obligations to protect customer data). It is also appropriate in this section to describe your pro- gressive disciplinary policy (if any) and any other standards related to employee discipline. 6. Leave Policies Your company's leave policies should be carefully docu- mented, especially leaves you are required to provide by law. Family and medical leave, jury duty, military leave, and time off for court cases and voting should all be documented to comply with state and local laws. In addition, you should ex- plain your policies for vacation, holiday, bereavement, and sick leave. 7. Employee Benefits Include details on your company benefit programs and eligibility requirements, including all benefits that may be required by law, such as disability insurance and workers' compensation. The employee benefits section should also outline your plans for health insurance, retirement, employee assistance, tuition reimbursement, and any other optional benefits your business offers. ALEXANDRA WALSH PEOPLE AT WORK The employee handbook is the single most important internal document laying out the policies of your company. CREATING AN EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK There are topics that must be covered in this company-critical document. waterwelljournal.com 52 July 2016 WWJ

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