All business owners agree that it’s a good idea to protect your business from unnecessary risk. Today, it’s more difficult than ever to protect yourself as an employer from compliance risk and employee lawsuits. The laws and regulations pile higher with each passing day. One of the most basic layers of protection for employers is the Employee Handbook. If you aren’t using an effective Employee Handbook as a front line form of protection for your company you might as well put a giant target on your back.
This week a few of our client service coordinators shared their thoughts about why it’s so important for employers to have and utilize a complete employee handbook.
Here are their comments:
Tad Mukai – Anaheim, CA Branch
An employee handbook helps to protect the company. If an employer is terminating an employee for violating a policy, it is almost impossible to prove that the employee was aware of the policy unless the employee has signed a handbook acknowledgement form. Once the employee signs that form, they are responsible for the policies and information within the handbook.
Without an employee handbook, it is very difficult to consistently communicate and enforce workplace rules, which can lead to disputes when an employer attempts to discipline or terminate an employee.
Hope Webber – Raleigh, NC Branch
1. It protects the employer and the employees. As the employer you have set forth policies and procedures for your company. By having this document, employees know what is expected of them. I caution them that it can be a double-edge sword. As the employer, you have to hold employees accountable for what you have outlined in your handbook; consistency is key. The employee (typically a disgruntled one) will be the one to challenge the employer policy when there is a “gray area” situation.
2. This is a legal document that will hold up in a court of law should you have a situation arise.
3. This document opens up conversations with employer/employee. The employer can have a monthly staff meeting and use the handbook to highlight a monthly policy/procedure review.
4. This document helps when you are terminating an employee for cause – it outlines the disciplinary process as well as the policies. Once the termination is made, the document becomes support documentation in an unemployment hearing.
Nina Clarkson – San Antonio, TX Branch
It clearly explains workplace policies, it helps in setting expectations of how the employees should act, it defines the pay structure, it covers employer legal liability exposures and every employee gets the same information thus establishing consistency across the organization.
Employers Resource can help your business with employee handbooks in a variety of ways. Whether you have one already or not, we help educate our clients about the important elements of a handbook. We work with them to customize the handbook according to their needs. Sometimes our clients use their own handbook template and we look it over to make sure it is current and compliant. We are constantly guiding our clients concerning the trickiest elements of HR and compliance. Did you know that the Paid Time Off policy is often one of the most complex and difficult policies to get right? So many variations of so many policies are possible. We can help you get it right for your business and your specific needs.