Even the Smallest Businesses Need an Employee Handbook
Regardless of the size of your company, you should have an employee handbook. Many business owners don’t realize that an employee handbook is just as important as any other foundational document. It should serve as a go-to document for your employees and management and just like any other type of organized system, it will establish rules, benefits, expectations, and address numerous “what if” scenarios.
Having an employee handbook will offer legal protection for you as well as your employees, and it should be routinely updated with current policies as your business grows. Although there are a variety of reasons you need an employee handbook, the following includes four of the top reasons you should have one no matter the size of your company:
- Outline Expectations and Policies – An employee handbook will set out the expectations that a company has for their employees. These rules will also detail the consequences that an employee should expect if those expectations are violated or not met. Sections in this part of the handbook may include timeliness, timeline and process for requesting leave, who to call in the event you are unable to come in or will be late, expectations for professionalism, an at-will employment statement, equal employment opportunity policies, digital and social media policies, harassment and discrimination policies, and leave policies that may include PTO, sick time, FMLA, and maternity/paternity leave.
- Foster a Fair and Consistent Environment – Your handbook should give a very concise, clear message to employees that your company will provide fair treatment to everyone. Your handbook is a rulebook that everyone must abide by and no one is exempt from. It is one of the most important and strongest tools that your business can use to fight claims of unfairness and discrimination in the workplace.
- Defend Against Unemployment Lawsuits and Claims – A good employee handbook will go a long way in defending you against claims of unemployment and other legal actions. Many employees have gotten themselves in hot water by forgetting some very important provisions in their handbook including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and on-the-job injuries. Having an agreement that has been signed by the employee acknowledging they received and read the handbook is one step you don’t want to risk skipping.
- Outline Compensation and Benefits – Of course, your employees need to be aware of the expectations of the company, but they also need to know what they can expect from the company. This section will outline the benefits and compensation that your employees will have by working for you. These may include the enrollment process and available benefits for employees, performance review policies, probationary periods, and review and raise schedules.
Contact an Experienced Business Law Attorney Today
The above items are just a few of the necessary sections to include in your employee handbook. Tampa business transaction attorney David Toback has years of experience in business law and can help you ensure that your employee handbook is up to date and meets all the requirements of Florida employment laws. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.