Every employer needs an employee handbook. In this article, you will learn the purpose and reasons why you need an employee handbook. Then, a sample employee handbook acknowledgment of receipt and a sample amendment to the employee handbook are provided.
How Does an Employee Handbook Contribute?
An employee handbook is a valuable tool for the employer when it provides accurate information for employees. A thoughtful, well-written handbook should also ensure that the employer can manage in a way that meets its business goals.
The handbook needs to supply enough guidance to create the consistent and fair treatment of employees yet leave room for managers to exercise discretion based on the circumstances.
Written properly, the employee handbook may keep you from having to deal with employee legal claims related to inconsistent or discriminatory treatment. Another purpose of the employee handbook is to protect your business from employment claims that were caused by unintentional omissions or poor word usage that limited the ability of the handbook to support the employer's best interests.
Recommended Legal Oversight
As with any document you distribute to employees, you need to have your employee handbook reviewed by an employment law attorney. It is too easy to unconsciously create contracts that limit your ability to manage your workplace. It is also easy to use language that will not properly provide protection for the employer against claims.
You also want to manage your relationship with your employees legally, ethically, and by interacting consistently so you don’t create perceived favoritism. Additionally, the purpose of an employee handbook is to let employees know what is expected so that they have the opportunity to perform effectively.
Employee Receipt and Acknowledgment
In all cases, you want to prepare an employee handbook receipt and the acknowledgment form for employees to sign and date. This receipt should acknowledge that the employee has read and understands the policies and guidelines presented in the handbook.
Further, this statement should reaffirm the employment-at-will status of the employment of each employee. Finally, the statement should contain a disclaimer, similar to the disclaimer in the actual employee handbook, that the employee understands that the contents are simply policies and guidelines, not a contract or implied contract with employees.
The employee handbook receipt should be filed in the employee's personnel file along with other documents related to his or her employment.
Contents of an Employee Handbook
Looking for ideas about the content of a comprehensive employee handbook? Here’s a list of the policies, procedures, and professional behavioral expectations found in many employee handbooks. This sample table of contents also covers pay, benefits, performance expectations and legal issues. You can use them as a guide when you develop your own policies, checklists, and forms.
Sample Acknowledgment of Receipt of the Employee Handbook
I acknowledge that I have received a copy of the (Your Company Name) Employee Handbook dated: (date). I understand that this employee handbook replaces any and all prior verbal and written communications regarding (Your Company Name) working conditions, policies, procedures, appeal processes, and benefits.
I understand that the working conditions, policies, procedures, appeal processes, and benefits described in this handbook are confidential and may not be distributed in any way nor discussed with anyone who is not an employee of (Your Company Name).
I have read and understood the contents of this handbook and will act in accordance with these policies and procedures as a condition of my employment with (Your Company Name).
I have read and understood the Standards of Conduct expected by (Your Company Name) and I agree to act in accord with the Standards of Conduct as a condition of my employment by (Your Company Name).
I understand that if I have questions or concerns at any time about the handbook or the Standards of Conduct, I will consult my immediate supervisor, my supervisor's manager, the Human Resources staff, or the President for clarification.
I also acknowledge that the handbook contains an employment-at-will provision that states:
- Either (Your Company Name) or I can terminate my employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice;
- That this employment-at-will relationship is in effect regardless of any other written statements or policies contained in this handbook, in any other (Your Company Name) documents, or in any verbal statements to the contrary; and
- That no one except the President can enter into any differing employment relationship, contract, or agreement. To be enforceable, any such out-of-the-ordinary relationship. contract or agreement must be in writing, signed by the President, notarized, and in the employee file.
Finally, I understand that the contents of this employee handbook are simply policies and guidelines, not a contract or implied contract with employees. The contents of the employee handbook may change at any time.
Please read this Handbook and these employee Standards of Conduct carefully to understand these conditions of employment before you sign this document.
Employee Name (Please Print)
Amendments to the Employee Handbook Policy Sample
When you wish to amend your employee handbook, you don't need to start the handbook receipt acknowledgment process over again with your employees. You simply need to use a form that acknowledges that they have received the amendment.
Amendments to the Employee Handbook:
The Company reserves the right and discretion to amend, delete, deviate from, or change benefits, compensation and policies at the sole discretion of the Company. Changes are effective as of the date of their occurrence.
Exceptions to the Amendments to Handbook Policy:
Only the President of the Company, in a written document signed by him, has the authority to enter into any agreements contrary to the terms of this Company Employee Handbook.
Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. The site is read by a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.