When you start a business that has employees, does the law require creating an employee handbook? How do you create an employee handbook? Do employee handbooks in Florida need to meet any legal requirements? These are some of the questions to which you will find answers in this article, so read on to learn what you need to know.
Does the Law Require Creating an Employee Handbook?
Technically, no. However, that is the wrong question to ask. The question you should be asking is whether your business needs an employee handbook, and the answer is likely yes. Although some employers choose not to create an employee handbook, not having one can be extremely dangerous for your business.
An up-to-date and legally compliant employee handbook essentially answers many of the questions that would otherwise burden your business’s Human Resources supervisor. In addition, a properly drafted employee handbook can provide a great deal of legal protection in the event an employee or regulator challenges your practices or policies in court. Unfortunately, in the corporate world, lawsuits are very common. Eventually, you will face a lawsuit or complaint from current or former employees, and these types of lawsuits can cause a lot of damage to a business, so you should have protection strategies in place.
When this type of legal dispute arises, one of the most useful tools you can have is a properly drafted and legally compliant employee handbook. If you do not have your procedures and policies in writing, one of your employees could claim that they did not know about a particular guideline, which will very likely result in legal action. Therefore, although the law does not require creating an employee handbook, doing so is extremely necessary.
Creating an Employee Handbook – What You Need to Know
Now that you know why having an employee handbook is necessary, let us take a look at what an employee handbook is, what it is not, and why you should create yours with the help of an experienced Florida Business Lawyer.
An employee handbook is, essentially, a physical or digital booklet employers use to provide their employees with the information that they must deliver to them in writing by law, in addition to other useful information.
Essentially, your employee handbook will provide your employees with a detailed overview of the policies and practices that are key to your company, along with other vital guidelines and procedures. The goal of your employee handbook will be to present your legal obligations as well as your employees’ rights and responsibilities, in addition to setting clear expectations for your employees. Your handbook must not only communicate these obligations and rights to your employees but also show that your company actively takes steps to remain compliant with government regulations.
When it comes to actually writing an employee handbook, no law specifies exactly how you should do it because all businesses are different, so all employee handbooks are different. However, most employee handbooks typically include the following:
- A description of the company,
- The company’s mission statement,
- An equal employment opportunity statement,
- The company’s office hours,
- The company’s timekeeping policies,
- The company’s overtime policies,
- Information about performance reviews,
- The company’s attendance and tardiness policies,
- The company’s termination policies,
- Payroll Information,
- The company’s sexual harassment policies,
- Workplace Training,
- The company’s discipline procedures,
- Employee Benefits,
- Family Medical Leave,
- Holidays and Vacations,
- Sick Leave,
- Workplace Safety,
- Personal and paid time off,
- Retirement plans,
- OSHA requirements,
- Pension plans,
- Workers’ Compensation, and
- Employee Acknowledgement.
Ideally, you should hire a lawyer to help you draft your employee handbook. However, if you have already written one, you should have a lawyer review it to make sure it includes all it needs to include. Once you create your employee handbook, give a copy to every employee and place a digital copy on your company’s internal website. In addition, make sure to review your handbook periodically, ask your employees for feedback, and make sure to update it when any of your policies changes.