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Why have an Employee Handbook?

By Angela Tenisci (posts)

Creating an employee handbook can appear daunting to employers.

Some may start with few, if any, written policies, while others may have adopted distinct policies without considering their integration into a cohesive handbook.

Some common questions we often receive are:

  1. Which policies are necessary, and which are discretionary?
  2. How should the handbook be structured?
  3. How often should the handbook be updated?
  4. What are the legal requirements?
  5. Are signed acknowledgements necessary?

Many of these answers depend on the industry of the employer and the number of employees they have, while others are consistent across the board (yes, ensure you have signed acknowledgements!).

While there is no legal obligation for employers to provide policy handbooks to their employees, there are compelling reasons to do so, such as:

  1. Welcoming New Hires – Handbooks offer a formal opportunity to welcome new employees, acquaint them with the organization, and outline expectations from the outset.
  1. Streamlined Policy Distribution – By consolidating various employment policies into a handbook, employers can ensure each employee receives copies of all pertinent policies efficiently as part of the hiring and onboarding process.
  2. Centralized Information Hub – Handbooks serve as a centralized resource for employees seeking answers to common questions, such as the process for requesting time off and other procedural inquiries. By having a central document, this also lessens the ongoing administrative burden of the employer and reduces confusion about practices.
  3. Consistency – A central document allows employers to ensure policy coherence and guidance, preventing contradictions and ensuring alignment among all managers and employees. This assists with the uniform application, interpretation, and enforcement of the employer’s practices and procedures.
  4. Legal Defence Support – In legal matters concerning employee discipline, termination, benefits, and compliance with legal obligations, handbooks and signed acknowledgements can bolster an employer’s defense.

As always, our workplace team is here to help. If you are considering implementing an employee handbook or would like yours updated, please reach out to workplacelaw@fultonco.com.



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