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The importance of a comprehensive employee handbook

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2019 | Firm News |

Establishing an understanding with your employees can help alleviate potential misunderstandings that could evolve into legal disputes. With an employee handbook, you can document each worker’s knowledge of policies and procedures that govern your business as well as applicable state, local and federal laws. 

If you have a business and have hired or are planning to hire employees, these are the most important aspects of your employee handbook. 

Required legal provisions 

Certain information must appear in your employee handbook to comply with federal and state law. Employers in New York state must purchase workers’ compensation insurance and should include information about how this program works in the case of a workplace injury. You should also include information about federal fair hiring and discrimination laws. New York has a paid family leave policy that goes above and beyond the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, and your handbook should detail these provisions. 


Clauses in your handbook should indicate that the information does not constitute a contract but does serve as the main document detailing company policies. You should also note that these policies are subject to change. Include an acknowledgment page with a space for the employee to sign and date indicating that he or she received and reviewed the employee handbook. 

Vacation policy 

Explain how employees can earn and use paid time off, as well as how they should schedule vacation days. Include information about paid company holidays and additional compensation for working on holidays, if applicable. This section should also cover sick leave, military spouse leave, and other forms of paid and unpaid time off. 

Pay and benefits 

Although the handbook does not state the employee pay rate, it does indicate how often he or she will receive a paycheck. This section should also detail standard work hours, established pay grade structure, direct deposit information, bonuses and stock options, and any other relevant information about employee compensation and benefits. 

A careful legal review can ensure that your handbook is comprehensive. Publishing this information can help shield your company from costly claims.