Employee Handbooks

Introduction

The Employee Handbooks tool consists of model national, state and key municipal policy statements designed for use in an employee handbook, along with guidance for employers.

Each article includes a policy statement and associated guidance, including legal considerations and information on when to include the policy.

Access the Employee Handbooks Tool

You can easily access the Employee Handbooks tool from the Tools menu via the navigation bar at the top of every page. Simply select "Tools > Employee Handbooks".

Employee Handbooks Homepage

From the Employee Handbooks homepage you can search within the Employee Handbooks tool or you can select a tool category, such as Employee Benefits or Workplace Conduct. You can also view a list of new and updated Employee Handbook articles from the tool homepage.

The breadcrumb bar immediately beneath the tool heading provides a dropdown menu of the tool categories. To locate an article in a particular subject area, simply select your category of interest from the dropdown menu or the All Categories list.

Click a category to view its associated articles.

Content Structure

Each article contains a "When to Include" section, a customizable policy statement and a "Guidance for Employers" section.

When to Include: The "When to Include" section offers insight into when and why an employer would choose to include a policy statement in their employee handbook. For example, where inclusion of a policy is dependent upon an employer having certain number of employees, the employee threshold will be set forth in this section. See Equal Employment Opportunity Handbook Statement [15-19 employees].

Customizable Policy Statement: The customizable policy statement contains legally mandated or recommended language an employer would use when including a policy in their handbook. Policies can be customized to include your organization's name and to represent the specific policies your organization adheres to.

Guidance for Employers: The "Guidance for Employers" section contains a bulleted list of tips, warnings and other considerations an employer must be aware of when including the policy in their handbook and implementing it across their organization.

How to Use the Employee Handbooks Tool

Whether you are operating in one or several states, it is important to understand that (with the exception of California) the content in this tool has been drafted for optimal use in a handbook with two distinct parts: (1) a National Handbook, containing federal and generally applicable policy statements and (2) individual state supplement(s) including state- and/or key municipal-specific policies. Where state supplement policy statements within the tool are meant to work in conjunction with a federal policy statement, the content will include a reference and links to the federal content.

Due to its more complicated legal landscape, California content has been drafted with a single-state, integrated handbook in mind. This means that for policy statements where the interplay between federal and state law is more complicated, federal requirements have been integrated with California law within the language of the policy statement itself.

The content in the Employee Handbooks tool can be used as a guide either to create a new handbook or update an existing handbook.

Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook

You can use the Employee Handbooks tool to help you create a new employee handbook. The most convenient way to determine which policies to include in your handbook is to use the proposed table of contents found on the Employee Handbooks tool page. For national/federal content and all states other than California, begin by browsing the National Handbook Table of Contents, which provides links to the national policy statements that can be included in an employee handbook, as well as a sample organization of the policy statements.

After selecting the sample national policy statements you wish to view, and ensuring you understand their implications using the When to Include and Guidance for Employers sections, download each statement into Word, customize the policies to your specific needs (contacting legal counsel to answer any questions, if needed) and use it to build your handbook.

Next, for all states other than California, you will want to create any necessary state supplements using the state-specific tables of contents on the tool pageThese tables of contents link to the state supplement policy statements. State supplement policy statements discuss the additional or corresponding state or key municipal laws an employer must follow for employees working in that particular jurisdiction. As noted above and in the content itself, many of the state supplement policy statements are intended to be read and understood with related federal policy statements found in the National Handbook content. For California, since the interplay between federal and state law is more complicated, federal requirements have been integrated with California law within the language of the policy statement itself.

If preparing a California handbook, you should consult the California Table of Contents which links to policy statements based solely on California law, policy statements that integrate both federal and California law and National Handbook content where there is no state-specific consideration.

After selecting the policy statements you wish to include, and ensuring you understand their implications using the When to Include and Guidance for Employers sections, download each statement into Word, customize the policies to your specific needs (contacting legal counsel to answer any questions, if needed) and use it to build your handbook.

Update an Existing Handbook

You can also use the Employee Handbooks tool to guide you when adding or revising policy statements in an existing employee handbook. To begin, locate the policy statements you are interested in.

Once you have located the statements you wish to add to your employee handbook - or use as a guide to revise a similar policy already in your handbook- review the When to Include section to ensure the policy statement in fact applies to your organization. Next, review the Guidance for Employers section for tips and warnings against some of the legal pitfalls in a particular policy's enforcement and implementation.

If you elect to use the policy statement, you have the option within the tool to download it into Word and customize the policies to your specific needs (contacting legal counsel to answer any questions, if needed) and use it to update your handbook.

Download Policy Statements

You can download a policy statement into Word to easily customize to your particular employment situation and add it to your handbook by selecting the Download button, located in the top right navigational bar above each article.

Customize Policy Statements

Policy statements in the Employee Handbooks tool may contain bracketed text, signaling a particular customization choice. For instance, many policy statements include the following text: [Company Name]. When you see such bracketed terms, insert your particular company's name or other details into the policy. In other instances, optional language is provided in bracketed text which you can choose to include or not include in your policy statement.

At times, you may also need or wish to customize policy statements even further than adding in language in the bracketed text areas. You should work with legal counsel as needed to customize and review the policy statements. The policy statements are not intended as a substitute to legal advice.

Disclaimer/Permissible Uses of Tool Content

The Employee Handbook template policy statements are not intended to apply to any particular employer or to provide legal advice or opinion. Such advice may only be given when related to specific handbooks and specific fact situations. Consultation with legal counsel is strongly recommended prior to distributing a handbook to employees.

Use of the material in the Employee Handbooks tool is subject to the terms and conditions in place at the time of your subscription or renewal (the "Terms and Conditions"). The Terms and Conditions grant limited rights to use, copy, distribute and store the material.

In addition to those limited rights, Authorized Users and Subscribers may copy and adapt this material for their own use and distribute internally in print or on the company's secure internal password-protected intranet for the internal business use of the company only. This permission does not permit Authorized Users and Subscribers to make the material available to clients or the public or any other external user either online or in print.

The time and size limits in the Terms and Conditions regarding downloading and storing material in machine readable form do not apply to this material.