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10 Policies to Include in Your Employee Handbook for a Clear and Compliant Workplace


Woman sitting at computer reading Employee Handbook.

Crafting an employee handbook is a vital task for any business, regardless of size.

An employee handbook sets the tone for workplace behavior and expectations, aligns employees with the company’s values, and offers guidelines for addressing various workplace issues that may arise.

To ensure a clear and compliant workplace within your organization, following are ten essential policies that every employee handbook should include.


10 Policies Every Employee Handbook Needs

Equal Employment and Non-Discrimination Policy

In today’s diverse workforce, promoting equality and non-discrimination is paramount. The Equal Employment and Non-Discrimination Policy underscores the company’s commitment to providing equal opportunities to all employees, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, LGBTQ+ identity, and other protected characteristics. It should include clear procedures for reporting discrimination incidents and encourage employees to address grievances promptly.

Non-Harassment Policy

Harassment has no place in the modern workplace. The Non-Harassment Policy safeguards employees against unwelcome behavior by clearly defining harassment and providing examples of what it looks like both within and outside of the workplace. This policy should outline reporting and investigation procedures, ensuring a safe and respectful work environment. Depending on your location, there may be anti-harassment training requirements and/or policy mandates that you need to follow. Remember to check local laws for compliance requirements.

Employee Conduct Policy

Maintaining a positive work environment hinges on setting clear expectations for employee conduct. The Employee Conduct Policy outlines these expectations, covering areas such as personal appearance, attendance, absenteeism and tardiness, telecommuting, ethics, behavior, and more. It should specify consequences for violations, helping employees understand acceptable behavior and minimizing misunderstandings.

Compensation and Benefits Policy

Compensation and benefit policies are vital for attracting and retaining talent. The Compensation and Benefits Policy informs employees about pay structures, work hours, benefits, and more. It should cover employment status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), pay schedules, work hours, lunch/rest periods, timekeeping policies, paid holidays, overtime compensation, bonuses, and benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.

Leave Policy

Employee well-being is crucial, and a comprehensive leave policy helps achieve this balance. This policy should include specifics on the various types of leave available to employees, including vacation and sick leaves, personal leave, maternity/paternity leave, and special leave. It should explain the process for requesting leave and the required notice periods. Be sure to check your state and local laws to ensure compliance with various paid leaves.

Health and Safety Policy

Ensuring employee safety is non-negotiable. The Health and Safety Policy outlines a company’s commitment to a secure work environment, including the responsibilities of both employers and employees in maintaining safety. It may address areas such as violence and drug use in the workplace, and should include procedures for reporting and addressing workplace hazards.

Employer Information and Property

Clear guidelines around employer property, including technology and internet usage, is essential in today’s digital age. The Employer Information and Property Policy provides direction on using company resources and property responsibly, including social media and online behavior.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

Safeguarding sensitive data is vital for organizational integrity. The Confidentiality and Data Protection policy should outline the protocols for handling confidential information, the specific data security measures to take, and consequences for data breaches.

Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures

Disputes in the workplace are inevitable, and their swift resolution hinges on fair procedures. The Disciplinary and Grievance Policy outlines the steps employees should take if they have a grievance or are subject to disciplinary action.

Employment and Termination Policy

From onboarding to offboarding, clear procedures are essential. The Employment and Termination Policy details employment criteria, including at-will provisions and termination procedures, to ensure clarity and fairness for both employees and management.

While every organization is unique, and every employee handbook should reflect its organization’s unique culture and workforce, these ten policies provide a solid framework for managing your workforce. Have more questions? Check out our Employee Handbook FAQs below!


Employee Handbook Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do I need an employee handbook? An employee handbook outlines your company’s policies, procedures, and expectations. It creates consistency, clarity, and transparency in your workplace, sets clear guidelines for employees, and can help protect your business from legal issues.

How often should I update my employee handbook? It’s advisable to review and update your handbook annually, or as significant changes occur within your company or in relevant laws and regulations. Regular updates ensure that your policies remain current and compliant with legal requirements.

Can I use a template for my employee handbook? While templates can be helpful, it’s important to customize your handbook to suit your business’ unique needs and culture. Generic templates may not address specific policies or legal requirements relevant to your industry or location.

How should I distribute the employee handbook to my employees? Distribute the handbook to all employees upon hiring and make it easily accessible to employees through digital and/or physical copies. Ensure that employees acknowledge receipt of the handbook in writing.

Can a handbook protect my business from legal disputes? While not foolproof, a well-documented handbook with clear policies and procedures can strengthen your defense in legal disputes. It’s important to consult with legal counsel to ensure your handbook complies with relevant laws and regulations.

What if I have remote or distributed teams? If your workforce includes remote or distributed teams, ensure that your handbook addresses specific policies and procedures relevant to remote work, such as communication protocols, cybersecurity measures, and remote equipment usage policies.

Where can I find resources to help me create an employee handbook? There are various resources available, including online templates, HR consultants, and legal professionals specializing in employment law.


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