Your company's employee handbook outlines your company's agreements with your staff about the employment relationship. There are a myriad of labor laws in California which govern how companies can outline the employment relationship. The Employee Handbook gives your company the opportunity to explain how the you conform to those laws, and outline any additional agreements you want to have with your staff.
Most of the policies found in employee handbooks are standardized according best practices and are the start of building a defense against any legal claims against your company. This is how you state that you do not tolerate things like harassment or discrimination. This is how you tell your staff what being “on time” means, and outline any rules you have about keeping time at work.
Typically handbooks are broken up into sections. The first section usually outlines the Way We Work, or the basics of the employment agreement such as at will employment, equal opportunity employment, religious accommodation, etc. Next is Pay and Progress which includes information about timekeeping, overtime rules, payday, and performance reviews. Next comes Benefits and Time Away from Work, we we outline Medical, Dental, Vision, 401K and other benefits if they are offered. This section also covers leave that is mandated by the Federal and State government such as paid sick leave, military leave, disability leave, unemployment insurance, and others. The next section covers On the Job agreements such as breaks, use of personal cell phone, mileage reimbursement, use of electronic communication, dress code and others. The last section covers Safety and how to handle emergencies.
There are a myriad of different policies that can be included in Employee Handbooks, and they should be tailored to your unique business needs. For example, a construction company's handbook looks different than a restaurant's handbook and should reflect the differences in manner of business.
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