Let’s briefly give you a quick overview of what should be included in an employee handbook before getting into the nitty gritty of it all.
So, what NEEDS to be in your employee handbook?
The code of conduct section outlines the set of rules, norms, practices and responsibilities which is expected of an employee. The section should include compliance policies, employee commitments, integrity issues and policies for violation of company practices.
Business and workplace policies aim to set out rules and principles which guide managers and employees on how to behave at work. They include regulatory requirements, relationship policies, harassment policies and more.
Having a health and safety policy is a legal obligation for all companies. This is necessary in order to protect the safety of the employees and the environment they work in. This section should outline how the company conducts its operations to meet a level which ensures a safe environment.
The employee practices and policies section outlines expected work hours, job performance expectations, and define employee classification.
In this section, outline the compensations, benefits and perks employees can expect for working at the company. Employees need to know how they benefit from working at the company, and how you reward and motivate them to achieve better results.
It is essential to have clear guidance for when employees leave your company. Employees may leave the company for a number of reasons: dismissal, resignation, retirement, resignation, termination and so on. Having a clear process already established is essential.
Let’s get into the nitty gritty stuff a bit shall we. Below we have drafted some sample sections. These sections contain overall elements of a section. Please download our free handbook to have a look at the full sections. Let’s give you a summary of everything in our employee handbook, to try and tempt you to read our full document. It’s bound to help you generate ideas of your own. This handbook is a sample and needs to be adapted by you, to fit your company.
Use this customizable PeopleGoal Employee Handbook template as a starting point, helping you on the way to creating your own company’s employee handbook. This document covers company and employee practices, policies, compensations and benefits.
Welcome to (this company)! Congratulations on your new career with us. We wish you every success in your time with us, and we hope that you feel at home here.
You may have noticed that (this company) supports a culture of effective teamwork and high performance. (This company) is built on the hard work efforts of energetic self-starters with a passion for their careers. Employees of this company are encouraged to push new ideas and follow leads with zeal. The fast-paced environment in our offices guarantees that employees are never bored, but are frequently challenged.
This Handbook should also allow you to understand what you can expect from us during your time here.
The Company Practices and Policies section of an employee handbook outlines the details of company practices and policies.
(This company) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our company provides hiring, promotion, and benefits to all employees regardless of race, color, age, sex (including sexual orientation, pregnancy or gender identity) ethnicity or nationality, religion, disability, or medical history. Employees, job applicants, and contractors are guaranteed equal opportunities throughout hiring, training, performance reviewing, and compensation processes.
The (Diversity Director) is responsible for guaranteeing diversity and inclusion practices are followed.
(This company) conducts regular trainings for hiring supervisors to combat biases and ensure compliance of company anti-discrimination practices in the workplace. However, if a job applicant feels as though they have been discriminated against, they should contact the (Diversity Director) immediately.
Managers, directors and other employees are required to respond appropriately to discrimination in the workplace. Investigative action must be taken by the (Diversity Director) and the (General Counsel) immediately and the job applicant must be notified of actions taken within 72 hours. Violation of the anti-discrimination policy, including failures to investigate, failures to notify, or failures to institute corrective or preventative measures, may result in suspension or termination.
Internal job applicants are discouraged from discussing an ongoing discrimination investigation or lawsuit with their department supervisors or other employees. Internal job applicants will not be punished for reporting discrimination, participating in a discrimination investigation, or for bringing a lawsuit to oppose discrimination. (This company) will protect the confidentiality of internal job applicants who report discrimination to the greatest extent possible.
Our company seeks to recruit candidates with the best available skills or experience necessary to perform their duties. Every employee is valuable and contributes to the success of this organization. Recruitment and selection decisions are made by the (Department Manager) and (Human Resources Manager) on the basis of an applicant’s skills and experience as well as an applicant’s fit into the culture of the organization.
(This company) is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to hiring of job applicants regardless of race, color, age, sex (including sexual orientation, pregnancy or gender identity) ethnicity or nationality, religion, disability, or medical history.
Conflicts of interest occur when an employee, contractor, or job applicant’s personal interests may not align with company needs or interests. If an employee uses their position for personal gain, engages in activities that will increase competitor profits, or acts in ways that could compromise the company’s legal position, these behaviors are considered conflicts of interest.
If an employee feels that a conflict of interest is likely to occur, that employee is instructed to discuss conflicts with (General Counsel). (General Counsel) is responsible for monitoring potential conflicts in the workplace and working to prevent them.
Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).
Harassment, as defined by this policy, is any unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
(This company) has allocated resources and staff time for harassment prevention efforts and works to assess harassment risk factors. As lead by the (Diversity Director), this company has taken steps to minimize the risk of harassment in the workplace including:
Sexual harassment is not tolerated in this workplace. It is unlawful to harass a person on the basis of sex. The process for reporting, investigating, and handling sexual harassment complaints is the same as the process for other types of harassment.
Employees will not be punished or retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment, participating in a sexual harassment investigation, or for bringing a lawsuit to oppose sexual harassment.
We are committed to creating an equitable workplace where diverse life experiences are respected and valued. (This company) sees diversity and inclusion paramount to the mission of our organization. Our company provides promotion, compensation, and benefits to all employees regardless of race, color, age, sex (including sexual orientation, pregnancy or gender identity) ethnicity or nationality, religion, disability, or medical history. Employees and contractors are guaranteed equal opportunities throughout their tenure with (this company).
In order to promote both diversity and inclusion, and ensure equal opportunities to all staff, (this company) has taken the following measures:
• Example • Example • Example
The voices of our employees should be heard. To make suggestions or discuss additional measures that could be taken to support diversity and inclusion in your department, contact the (Diversity Director). The (Diversity Director) is responsible for ensuring that an equitable workplace is a reality for our staff. To report issues of non-compliance with the Diversity and Inclusion policy, contact the (Diversity Director) to file a complaint.
This company takes data protection very seriously. With the increasing ransomware attacks and data breach leaks, cyber security has never been more important than it is now.
(This company) works to ensure security of data through data backup, early protection, preventative monitoring, spam filters, and employee awareness training.
The California Consumer Privacy Act affords California residents an array rights, including the right to be informed about what kinds of personal data companies have collected and why it was collected.
The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) is a California law with national reach. CalOPPA applies to any person or entity that owns or operates a commercial website or online service that “collects and maintains personally identifiable information from a consumer residing in California who uses or visits” said website or online service.
The Employment Practices and Policies section of an employee handbook outlines the details of employment practices and policies associated with a company. Use this to explain expected work hours, job performance expectations, and define employee classification.
(This company) normally operates from (Monday to Friday) between (9 AM to 7 PM EST).
Full-time, salaried employees are exempt if they also meet the qualifications for exemption from overtime requirements mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Hourly employees are non-exempt if they do not meet the qualification for exemption from the overtime requirements mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Non-exempt employees must keep an accurate record of hours worked.
Employees who are unsure of their status as an exempt or non-exempt employee should contact the (Human Resources Manager).
Attendance is a standard measure of job performance. Punctuality and regular attendance is expected of all employees. Employees with excessive unexcused absences or repeated tardiness may be subject to a negative performance review or termination of employment.
All absences must be reported to the (Human Resources Manager) and the (Department Manager), and recorded on the (PeopleGoal platform). When reporting an absence, please specify the nature of the absence and whether vacation days or paid time off (PTO) will be used.
Compliance with the health and safety policy of this company is mandatory, and helps to support our mission. All employees are individually and collectively responsible for maintaining a safe work environment.
(Department Managers) are responsible for supervising and taking corrective actions when employees do not follow health and safety rules. Therefore, (Department Managers) are expected to appoint a (Department Safety Assistant) who will ensure that employees comply with all relevant regulations and accepted standards and that work activities are performed in a safe and healthy manner.
Bathrooms and Rest Areas
Our bathrooms and rest areas are regularly checked for wet floors and hazards.
Smoking is not permitted inside of the office. Employees who choose to smoke must do so outside.
Employees who spend the majority of their workday at their desks should take breaks from typing or sitting at their desks for ten minutes every two hours. These exercise breaks are intended to prevent medical risks such as carpal tunnel, blurred vision, or blood clots.
General safety protocols should be followed in the office. Do not run in the office, particularly on wet or slick surfaces. Ensure that all passageways are clear and free of cords and debris. Pay close attention to possible hazards on staircases.
Office equipment is regularly inspected by (Department Managers) for safety and sturdiness. However, if an employee notices office equipment is unsafe they should contact their (Department Managers).
Animals are only permitted in office spaces with the permission of the (Department Manager). This policy does not apply to service animals. If employees require service animals, they must notify the (Human Resources Manager), who will inform the (Department Manager) of the service animal of the permission.
(The company) will not be responsible or liable for the behaviors of animals in the workplace, and any employee who brings an animal into the workplace is solely responsible for the animal.
Space heaters are permitted in the workplace. If space heaters are used, they must be completely unplugged before an employee walks away from their desks.
Emergency Response Protocols
The (Department Safety Assistant) is responsible for communicating the locations of emergency exits, emergency response equipment, and shelter-in-place facilities to all employees.
At the end of each year, the (Department Safety Assistant) will report numbers of on-the-job accidents and injuries to the (Human Resources Manager).
Employees are free to choose how to spend their break period and may use their break periods to have meals, either on or off campus. Break periods may also be used to take personal meetings away from the office.
All employees are entitled to a (30-minute) meal break for every four hours of work. Meal breaks will generally apply to full-time, salaried employees, but hourly employees may be entitled to meal breaks if they work multiple shifts.
All employees are entitled to reasonable toilet breaks. Restroom breaks may be taken whenever an employee needs them. Individual restroom breaks should not last longer than 20 minutes. If longer breaks are needed for health reasons, please contact your (Human Resources Manager).
Working During Break Periods
Our company does not expect employees to work on break periods. If employees choose to work through a break, they may do so. However, additional compensation is not offered for working on break periods.
Laws Regarding Break Periods
There are no federal laws regarding meal or break periods. Nonetheless, (this company) will respect all state and local laws regarding break periods.
The office is a professional setting and professional business attire is required. (The company) expects that both men and women adhere to a professional dress code. All employees are expected to demonstrate good judgment when selecting work attire.
Jeans, flip-flops, sandals, or uncollared shirts are prohibited. On casual dress days, it is acceptable to wear khakis with collared shirts or slacks and skirts with uncollared blouses. Under no circumstances is clothing with writing permitted. Brand logos on clothing are allowed, permitting that they are not offensive.
Social media, which may include apps like Snapchat or Instagram, or other Internet networking applications like Facebook, should not be used during work hours except as it relates to business.
Although social media should not be used at work, employees are expected to handle their personal social media accounts appropriately outside of the office. Employees should never share any intellectual property, or the status of any of their assignments on social media. When representing the company, employees should always be respectful and avoid speaking in specifics about their work. Employees should never post discriminatory, offensive, or other illegal language on social media.
(The company) does not prohibit personal relationships between employees of the same level. However, this company prohibits relationships between junior and senior employees. Employees are expected to maintain professionalism in the workplace regardless of the status of their relationship.
In the event that employees begin a new relationship, the (Human Resources Manager) must be notified. The (Human Resources Manager) may ask employees to fill out a waiver that establishes the nature of the relationship and a start date for the relationship.
Employees that exhibit inappropriate behavior in the workplace may be subject to disciplinary action.
Workplace safety is very important to us. As employees receive visitors on the premises, (our company) wants to ensure that visitors are not a threat to the workplace, do not distract from workplace focus, and are not exposed to danger. All visitors are required to register their entrance at the (reception desk).
Employees who receive personal visitors must greet their visitors and stay with personal visitors throughout their visits. Inappropriate behavior by personal visitors, including engaging in offensive speech, causing disruption in the workplace, or stealing company property, will not be tolerated. Personal visitors that behave inappropriately may be asked to leave the premises.
Occasionally, clients, contractors, or service vendors may need access to the office. (The receptionist) is responsible for receiving clients, contractors, or service vendors and ensuring that they are safely escorted to the proper place. (The receptionist) is also responsible for handling all of the deliveries that are brought to the office, and ensuring that they are properly stored and given to the correct person.
Employees are responsible for ensuring that they understand and perform their roles at a high level, actively engaging with their managers to improve their performance, and focusing on improvement on a day-to-day basis.
Managers are responsible for ensuring that the required performance standards are clearly communicated and understood by employees, addressing underperformance by staff, and maintaining a reasonable workload for staff.
When a (Department Manager) sees fit to discuss an employees’ underperformance, the (Department Manager) must submit a request to the employee for a meeting.
During the meeting, the employee and (Department Manager) are expected to review the expectations of the employees’ role, detail support and training strategies to improve the employees’ performance, and determine an outcome of the meeting. A report containing the specifics of the meeting must be drafted by the (Department Manager), and presented to the (Human Resources Manager).
Six weeks after the performance improvement meeting, the employee is expected to meet with the (Department Manager) a second time to evaluate progress. Employees will be categorized in three ways – with satisfactory improvement, partial improvement, or insufficient improvement.
If an employee would like to appeal a request for a performance improvement meeting, or the outcome of a performance improvement meeting, the request should be made to the (Human Resources Manager).
Employees who are subject to more than two performance improvement meetings in a one year period, may be subject to termination by discharge.
Performance reviews are used to monitor employee growth and satisfaction as well as to express company needs and objectives for the upcoming year.
Special Performance Review
Special performance reviews are an informal opportunity for the (Department Managers) to commend employees or teams for their performance results. These performance reviews may be held in person or in writing. The purpose of special performance reviews is to issue a one-time reward to employees who have been ‘exceptional’ in their departments.
Annual Performance Review
Annual performance reviews are a formal opportunity for (Department Managers) and employees to exchange observations about the working relationship over the previous year. These performance reviews must be held in person, and documented in writing. The purpose of the review is to have an open and honest discussion regarding employee and department performance.
Employees may leave the company due to resignation, retirement, downsizing or layoffs, or discharge. When an employee is dismissed from their job, either voluntarily or involuntarily, the employee is considered terminated.
Employees who resign are considered voluntarily dismissed. Any employee that plans to resign from their position with (the company) must give reasonable notice of their intention to leave.
Employees who retire are considered voluntarily dismissed. (This company) allows employees over the age of 60 who have had at least five years of benefits-eligible employment to retire.
The Employee Compensation and Benefits chapter of an employee handbook outlines the details of the compensation and benefits for employees. Use this Employee Compensation to explain payroll, benefits, and compensation status to your workers.
Salaries and wages for all employees are paid on the (15th and last days of each month), except when those days fall on a weekend or holiday, in which case salaries and wages will be paid on (the preceding work days).
Recording Work Time
In order to ensure that the correct payment amounts are made in a timely manner, employees are expected to report and record their time worked. (Hourly employees) are expected to record work time on the (PeopleGoal platform). Time cards must be submitted electronically at the end of each period. (Full-time, salaried employees) are expected to record their time on an exception basis, which means that they are only required to record their time off on the (PeopleGoal platform).
Payroll deductions are amounts withheld from an employee’s salary and wages by (the company). Employees must complete all applicable forms necessary for deductions as required by law; such forms include the federal W-4. Deductions are withheld no matter how many hours an employee has worked. There are two types of payroll deductions: mandatory and voluntary.
Mandatory deductions refer to the payroll deductions all employers must withhold as required by government agencies. (This company) withholds (state income tax, federal income tax, Medicare, Social Security, local income tax, federal insurance contributions act (FICA) contributions, garnishments, tax levies, and wage orders).
Voluntary deductions refer to the payroll deductions employers withhold at the employee’s request. (This company) will withhold deductions for (life insurance, 401(k) plans, housing loans, loan forgiveness, medical or dental insurance, health savings accounts, payroll advances and voluntary wage repayments) at the request of the employee. If an employee is interested in participating in voluntary deduction withholding, the employee must notify the (Payroll Department) upon signing their work contract.
All payroll deductions will be itemized and presented to employees with their paychecks. The (Payroll Department) is solely in charge of withholding the correct amounts from employee paychecks.
Payroll advances are available to all (full-time, salaried) employees if they meet the required conditions. Payroll advances are deducted from the employee’s (immediate next) paychecks.
Employees may request an advance on their salaries or wages if they (have been employed for the mandatory probation period, have not asked for a payroll advance more than once in the past year, and have a legitimate reason to ask for an advance).
Payroll advances may be repaid in installments over the following (three months). Any repayment terms exceeding (three months) will be charged interest at (1 percent over the prime rate).
The maximum payroll advance is (one month’s pay). If more than (one month’s) pay is needed, employees should contact the (Human Resources Manager).
If an employee is terminated or resigns before a payroll advance has been repaid, then the payroll advance repayment is due immediately. Failure to repay a payroll advance will result in legal penalties.
Workers’ compensation provides payment of medical expenses and partial payment of salary or wages in the event of a work-related accident or illness. Employees of (this company) are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which is funded by (the company). If you are injured on the job, notify the (Human Resources Manager) as soon as possible.
Bonuses are available to all (full-time and hourly) employees if they have been employed by (the company) or contracted with (the company) for (two or more years). The bonus policy may be changed at any time. If the bonus policy is changed, the (Human Resources Manager) will distribute the new policy (three months before) the new policy takes effect.
There are two types of bonuses: discretionary and non-discretionary. Discretionary bonuses, like performance-related bonuses, are not guaranteed by (this company). Non-discretionary bonuses, like annual bonuses, are guaranteed by (this company).
One-time bonuses and annual bonuses are also applicable.
Paid Time Off
Paid time off (PTO) is available to (full-time, salaried employees) of (this company). The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require payment for time not worked. Per this company policy, (hourly employees) will not receive any PTO.
(Full-time, salaried employees) have (31 days) of PTO available. Employees can use PTO at any time, but unused PTO does not roll over to the following year. Please keep in mind that PTO does not include parental or sick leave.
All requests to use PTO must be submitted to the (Department Manager), and the (Human Resources Manager) at least (24 hours in advance).
Sick leave is available to (all employees). Employees may take sick leave without advance notice. Sick leave may be used when employees are ill, are recovering from a sudden illness, are tending to an injury, or are receiving mental care.
General sick leave is limited, and employees who need time off for routine healthcare purposes, such as an annual checkup, should use their PTO. Employees have (12 days) of sick leave available. Sick leave can be used at any time, and unused sick leave rolls over to the following year.
In order to request sick leave, employees simply notify their (Department Manager) or the (Human Resources Manager) of the request. Employees should include information about how long they will be absent for in their request.
Because the Family and Medical Leave Act cover the following circumstances, general sick leave is not available for circumstances including:
All employees are entitled to (seven days) of bereavement leave per event. Bereavement leave is granted for the arrangement of funeral or memorial services, fulfillment of family obligations, mourning, and religious obligations resulting from a death.
If additional time is needed, requests can be made (in writing) to the (Human Resources Manager). Upon requesting bereavement leave, proof of death is (not) required. However, employees are required to notify their (Department Manager) and the (Human Resources Manager) of bereavement leave as soon as possible.
All employees are entitled to leave for jury duty. Time taken for jury duty is not paid, unless an employee chooses to use their PTO.
In order to request leave for jury duty, employees must submit a copy of summons to the (Human Resources Manager) and notify their (Department Manager) of your impending absence.
If an employee is summoned for jury duty, but work obligations conflict with their ability to attend, they are advised to speak with the (Human Resources Manager). The (Human Resources Manager) may send a request a postponement of an employee’s jury duty to the court.
Paternity leave or maternity leave, also called parental leave, is available for (all employees) that are expecting a new child. Parental leave include adoption leave, or any other leave associated with caring for a child.
An employee’s child must be under 18 years old in order for the employee to qualify for parental leave. In compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act, qualifying parents may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of parental leave.
(This company) allows up to (12 weeks) of unpaid parental leave for parents of newborns, and an additional (12 weeks) of paid paternal leave for parents of newborns. (This company) only allows up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for adoptive parents of children.
Employees requesting long-term parental leave must give notice of the amount of leave requested at least (one month) in advance of the planned leave start date.
(This company) observes all federal holidays including, but not limited to, (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day).
If an employee would like to observe a religious holiday that is not observed by the company, the employee may take unpaid time off or use their PTO. Employees must inform the (Department Manager) and the (Human Resources Manager) if they plan to take time off to observe a religious holiday.
Employees are (not) expected to come in to work on holidays. If an employee or group of employees need to come in to work during a holiday, the (Department Manager) will give notice to the employee(s) at least (one week) before the holiday date.
Non-exempt hourly employees receive a regular hourly rate in addition to a premium for working on a holiday. Exempt employees earn an additional PTO day for working on a holiday.
Vacation time is only available to (full-time, salaried) employees. To qualify for vacation time, employees must have been employed by (the company) for at least 90 days. Employees that qualify for vacation time may take their vacation time during the remaining nine months of the first year of employment.
During the (first year) of employment, employees earn (two weeks, or 10 business days) of vacation time. For each following year, (employees earn an additional week of vacation time, up to six weeks, or 30 business days) worth of vacation time.
Vacation benefits must be used in the year in which the vacation time is earned. Unused vacation time does not roll over to the following years. Once an employee uses their vacation benefits, the employee will begin accruing vacation leave again from that date.
(This company) proudly offers medical insurance to all (salaried, full-time employees) and to (eligible hourly employees). Details of the plans employees can choose from should be contained in the (benefits documents) given to employees at the start of their tenure. Plans offered through this employer are only administered through health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
A contribution for coverage will (not) be deducted from an employee’s salary based on the benefit package selected. These plans are subject to change at (the company’s) discretion. If plans or offerings change, employees will be notified at least (one month) in advance.
This company proudly offers a standard vision plan for all (salaried, full-time employees) and for (eligible hourly employees).
Remote Working and Working From Home
(This company) maintains a flexible remote working policy to reduce stress on workers. All office employees are allowed to work remotely or telecommute on (two Fridays of each month). Employees can arrange the days that they work from home with their (Department Manager). Working remotely should not affect employees’ employment terms, compensation, or benefits.
Employees may opt to work from home if their jobs do not require physical presence, if the employee has been given a secure work computer, if the employee can manage team collaboration, and if the conditions of the alternative workplace are suitable for remote work.
Occasionally, employees will be asked to work from home in the event of bad weather, abnormal commuting challenges, or during other emergencies.
The PeopleGoal Policies are general templates and should only be used as a basis for company policies. Please take into account all local, state, and federal laws when drafting your company’s final policies. This is not a legal document or a contract, and PeopleGoal will not assume any legal liability associated with the use of this document.