AWC Blog

The Importance of an Employee Handbook

employee handbook

Employee handbooks are typically associated with big corporations with thousands of employees, but businesses of all sizes benefit when employers provide a clear, concise, and easy to understand employee handbook. Having an employee handbook can help ensure that expectations, policies, and procedures are clearly laid out for all of your employees.

There are benefits for employee handbooks to you, as the employer, especially when everything within the handbook is applied consistently and fairly to all employees. There are several things that should be included in an employee handbook, including a clear outline of what your employees are expected to do in case of an accident or injury at work.

What is Required In Your Employee Handbook

When you sit down to craft your employee handbook, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Remember to write it in a clear and understandable manner so that your employees can grasp what they’re reading without confusion. Certain elements must be included by law, and some parts are there to protect you and your business.

You’ll need to become familiar with your local and state employment requirements in order to make sure you add all of the appropriate information to your employee handbook. With regard to federal law, make sure you include the following:

  • Family medical leave policies
  • Equal employment and non-discrimination policies
  • Workers’ compensation policies

 

Possible other elements to include, by law, are accommodation of disabilities, military leave policies, breastfeeding policies, and crime victims leave policies. Work with a human resources attorney or your HR department to make sure you don’t leave any required parts out.

What You Should Include In Your Employee Handbook

When it comes to writing employee handbooks, there are plenty of examples and templates available, but certain elements are pretty common. Make sure your wording is carefully selected without giving too much detail – it’s easy to forget something and if a detail changes, you’ll have to change the entire handbook and reissue them to all of your employees.

Consider including these elements in your employee handbook:

  • Company history and mission
  • Paid time off policy
  • Employee behavior and consequences
  • Pay and promotion information
  • Benefits
  • Safety, injury, and accident information

 

The safety information you include in your employee handbook will help in several ways. It sets the expectation you have for your employees on how to handle themselves on the job and what to do in the event of an accident. It reminds them that you consider safety an important factor in their work. It can also help reduce accidents and injuries, therefore reducing workers’ compensation claims.

Sample language to include for accidents and injuries:

  • Employees must report work injuries right away. The longer it takes for injuries to be reported to you and claims to be filed, the longer it takes an employee to return to work and the higher the cost of the claim.
  • Employees will be brought back to work as soon as they are medically able. The employee may not immediately go back to their position and may need light duty, but those details can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
  • Fraud is not tolerated. You may want to consider language regarding a zero tolerance policy and remind employees that fraud will be prosecuted.

 

Your employee handbook sets the stage for your expectations from your employees and what they can expect from you. Safety, and the costs associated with accidents and injuries, are a serious concern for you, and they should be for your employees. Including language that addresses these concerns and stresses the importance of safety is one step in preventing employee accidents and reducing workers’ compensation claims.

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