The Employee Handbook, also called employee manual, sets out in detail the guidelines that govern procedures and expectations of the company from its employees. Whenever a new employee joins a company, the normal practice followed is to provide the employee with a handbook to acquaint them with the new company and its prevailing policies.
The employee should carefully read and comprehend the contents of the handbook because the employee will then be able to discharge his or her responsibilities in a more informed and educated manner. The employee handbook will divulge the programs initiated by the company and the responsibilities of the employee. One of the main aims of the employee handbook is to engender the best of environments for employer and employee, thereby resulting in optimal performance of the company.
Of course, the handbook may not cover every conceivable aspect of the functioning of the company due to various factors, but it is the first comprehensive report about the company that introduces the employee to his or her new environment. Broadly speaking, the contents of a standard employee handbook will contain the following points in some detail:
• Welcoming Statement
• Orientation procedures
• Define full/part time employment and explain the benefits of each
• Employee pay and other benefits
• Conduct of employees and discipline policies
• Employee performance review
• Promotion/demotion policies
• Rules pertaining to mail, use of telephone and other company equipment
• Procedures regarding injuries received through accidents
• Voluntary termination of work by the employee
• Keep certain information regarding the company confidential
In addition, the handbook will also specify the various finer points regarding employment practices. It might begin by setting forth the nature of the employment itself. “At Will” types of employment refer to the concept where either the employee or the employer may terminate the contract of employment at any point of time, with or without reason. Then, most companies are sure to be equal opportunity companies, where employment is given regardless of sex, creed, race, religion, gender, nationality or because of the presence of any mental or physical disabilities, as governed by applicable laws.
The employee handbook will surely have to mention that it does not subscribe to any kind of discrimination of any sort when it comes to its employment policies.
To elaborate further, employment policies of the company should also state whether the employee belongs to an “exempt” or “non-exempt” category. Because, the law requires this, it is necessary for the employee to have one of these status identifications, in order to determine whether or not the employee is eligible to get overtime pay should he or she work more than eight hours in a day or more than forty hours per working week.
Exempt employees, according to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), includes managers, directors, officers, owners, executives and professional and technical personnel from being paid overtime. Non-exempt employees are eligible to receive overtime pay. There are also separate categories such as hourly employees and salaried employees. Salaried employees receive a fixed salary while hourly employees are paid by the hour.