By Evan Vitale
Let’s continue with our discussion on the importance of having an employee manual. As I’ve been writing these blog posts, it reminded me of a business friend who had nearly 20 employees and an outdated employee manual.
Needless-to-say, some missing elements in his employee manual caused him some grief which, of course, distracted him away from running his business; generating more sales and producing a good service. The outcome of the dispute was resolved, but the lost production time caused a downward spiral of depression and business reconsiderations.
Here are a few things that should be included in every employee manual:
Compensation – Your employee manual should spell out the work period; pay periods (such as every other Friday, etc.) and that the required deductions will take place for local, state and federal taxes. You should also detail your overtime policy; exempt employee status and what that means; when performance reviews shall take place; insurance programs and policies; retirement plans, etc.
Work Schedules – Define the typical days and hours work should be performed (i.e., 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.); breaks and lunch times. You should also determine sick time; vacation; funerals; personal time; absences, etc.
Codes of Conduct – Clearly define what you expect in terms of behavior from your staff. This includes dress code; personal care; staff relationships; harassment policies; language; HIPAA, etc.
General Information – This would include the termination procedures; whether you are an “at will” firm/state and that there are no contracts or agreements expressed or implied. Spell out the difference between full-time and part-time status; job descriptions; performance reviews; resignation and termination periods.
Other items, which we will discuss in our next blog post include:
– Employee Benefits
– Leave Policy
– Safety and Security
– Computers, Passwords and other Technology
If you do not have an employee manual, you should definitely (and immediately) take steps to have one written and prepared. Remember: this is NOT a do-it-yourself activity and one you should consider handing over to an experienced business advisor (or attorney) you can put together a proper employee manual which will not only save you time, but money and headaches in the long run.