HR Support on Creating Employee Handbooks

Editors Note: A current and enforced employee handbook is HR's most important tool!

Beth ZollerOverview: To create employee handbooks that are effective, employers should include all necessary workplace policies, procedures and practices. In many instances, this policy manual can serve as an employer's best defense in defending any workplace practice or action such as the enforcement of a dress code policy or the investigation of a claim for sexual harassment in the workplace. An employer should ensure that all of the policies in the employee handbook are communicated to all employees and supervisors and that proper training on the policies is provided to the employees. An employer should frequently review the policies in its handbook to see if any need updating based on a change in any law or workplace practice or as the result of a workplace incident which requires clarification of a policy.

Trends: While best practice is to include a disclaimer in the employee handbook in order to prevent it from becoming part of an employment contract, employers should be aware that the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that an overly broad at-will disclaimer in an employee handbook may violate the National Labor Relations Act by infringing upon the rights of both union and non-union employees to engage in a protected concerted activity, i.e., working collectively to improve working conditions. Employers should also be aware that in confronting the diverse workforce of today, it may be necessary for employers to develop handbooks and policies in multiple languages to address employee needs.

Author: Beth Zoller, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Employee Handbooks

  • Illinois-Specific Employee Handbook Policies Now Live

    Date:
    24 February 2015
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    The Illinois employee handbook policy statements and associated "when to include" and "employer guidance" for each policy are now live and have been added to the new Employee Handbooks Tool.

  • About This State Supplement Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers seeking to explain how the handbook and supplement should be read together and that neither the handbook nor the supplement alter an employee's at-will status should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • EEO Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Accommodation for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers with 15 or more employees should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Access to Personnel Files Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers with five or more employees seeking to inform their employees of the rules surrounding the review of employee personnel files and medical records should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Meal Breaks Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers seeking to encourage and demonstrate compliance with the state's meal break requirements should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Lactation Accommodation Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers with more than five employees seeking to encourage and demonstrate compliance with the Illinois law requiring that employers provide unpaid break time and reasonable locations for employees to express breast milk should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Vacation/Paid Time Off (PTO) Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers that provide paid vacation or paid time off (PTO) are required by state law to pay employees for accrued but unused vacation days or PTO upon termination of employment and should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Mandatory Time Off/Day of Rest Handbook Statement: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers seeking to indicate that certain employees will receive one day of rest in each calendar week and to demonstrate compliance with Illinois law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Family Military Leave Handbook Statement [15-50 Employees]: Illinois

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Illinois employers with 15-50 employees (including independent contractors) seeking to educate employees about the availability of family military leave and to demonstrate compliance with Illinois' family military leave law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

About this topic

HR guidance on how to create employee handbooks that includes all employment policies and practices.