Employee Handbook

What Is an Employee Handbook?

An Employee Handbook is a comprehensive document provided by an employer to its employees, which outlines the organization’s policies, procedures, and expectations. The handbook serves as a guide for employees to understand their rights and responsibilities within the company. It also helps protect the employer legally by ensuring that company policies are clearly communicated.

Key Features of Employee Handbook

  • Company Policies: Includes detailed descriptions of company policies regarding attendance, dress code, employee conduct, and more.
  • Legal Protections: Outlines legal obligations of the employer and the rights of employees.
  • Benefits Information: Provides information about employee benefits, eligibility, and enrollment procedures.
  • Resource for Employees: Acts as a reference for employees throughout their employment.

How Does an Employee Handbook Function?

  1. Development: HR develops the handbook, often with legal consultation to ensure compliance with labor laws.
  2. Distribution: The handbook is distributed to new hires and existing employees, sometimes requiring a signature to acknowledge receipt and understanding.
  3. Updates: Regularly updated to reflect changes in company policies or legal requirements.
  4. Enforcement: Used as a basis for addressing employee issues and ensuring consistent application of policies.

Best Practices for Employee Handbooks

  • Clear Language: Use clear and concise language to ensure all employees understand the contents.
  • Accessibility: Make the handbook easily accessible, ideally in both physical and digital formats.
  • Regular Reviews: Review and update the handbook regularly to ensure it remains relevant and legally compliant.
  • Employee Acknowledgment: Have employees acknowledge that they have read and understand the handbook.


While not a contract, it can have legal implications. Clear disclaimers should state that the handbook is not a binding contract.

It can lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, depending on the policy and the severity of the violation.

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