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The Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

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Stephanie Davis

Employee handbooks. How often have you received one of these and wondered if it was worth the time it takes to read? You might thing that most of the information in the handbook is stuff you’ve seen before.

And as a small business owner and employer, who may only have a handful of employees, you might think you don’t need a handbook. Being small gives you more opportunities to talk to your employees. While this is true, you still should have an employee handbook to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Confused about how to start and what to include? We are here to help.

There’s Nothing Wrong with Being Basic

In any employee handbook, you’ll want to cover two main areas: policies specific to your business, and policies dictated by law. Examples would include the dress code and whether your office is pet-friendly. Do you have set rules on how much notice you want for time off? This is information you’ll want to include in your handbook. These rules should also be verbally communicated during onboarding but it’s most important to have written documentation.

While these are a few suggestions of what to include, if you’re truly lost and not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources online to help you out. You can search and see if other company’s handbooks pop up, or look for information that should be included. Additionally, if you use a payroll provider, you’ll want to ask if they offer HR and Compliance support. At SurePayroll, we provide our clients access to a variety of resources related to employee handbooks and general employee management in our SureAdvisor Compliance Center.

Keep It Legal

As a small business owner, there are laws requiring employers to notify employees of certain workplace rights. An employee handbook is a great place to put this information and share with your employees. There are also some free posters you can print and hang in your office to keep employees aware that way. Additionally, there some legal policies you should include such as family medical leave, equal employment and non-discrimination, and worker’s compensation.

Some other important legal info worth sharing – payroll and tax information. We have previously discussed that when it comes to payroll there are some things you are responsible for as a small business owner, but there are also things your employees need to watch out for. Employees need to ensure that their paychecks are accurate when they receive them and that their W-4’s have up to date information, usually needing to confirm their name, address, and social security number. Additionally, including common abbreviations found on paystubs is helpful information to share.

Have Some Fun

As you are running a small business, you do not have to be super formal, unless that’s your style and in that case go for it. It’s completely acceptable to have a casual handbook. There is no need to use jargon or get super lengthy or descriptive. If you’re a graphic designer, have some fun with the design and if you’re not, maybe include simple some fun quotes or images. While the information you are presenting is serious, you don’t have to be serious in its presentation.

Bottom Line

Even though your business is small, your policies are not. Still not convinced your small business needs a handbook? In the event you need to let an employee go for not adhering to your policies, having the policy in writing prevents the employee from threatening legal action against their termination. Additionally, you should have your employee sign an acknowledgment that they have received and reviewed the employee handbook. Communication is key in any relationship, and this includes the ones you have with your employees.

What do you include in your employee handbook? Tweet us @SurePayroll.

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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.