While it is essential to draft work contracts that clearly lay down the terms of employment, it is also useful for your small business to have an employee handbook suited to your needs.
What is an employee handbook?
An employee handbook is a document provided to employees usually during the onboarding process. It sets down the company policies, work culture, and employer expectations on performance and behaviour.
Though having a staff handbook is not a legal requirement, there are many benefits of creating one for your business.
Why do I need an employee handbook?
You are obligated to inform your staff about company policies and their rights and responsibilities while they work for you.
An employee manual helps you streamline your internal operations. It helps you communicate better with your staff. A staff handbook can also answer the frequently asked questions your staff may have about policies.
It is a useful tool while onboarding new staff. Through a handbook, you can share your company’s values, goals and work culture with your new employees.
Laying out the details on employment policies may also protect you from potential employee claims and needless litigation.
What should I include in the employee handbook?
There are some basic employment policies that every handbook should cover. These include hours of work, leaves of absences policies, pay and benefits, code of conduct, equal employment and non-discrimination policies, occupational health and safety policy, overtime, termination and confidentiality policy.
The information you decide to put in your handbook will depend on your industry, and the needs, goals and size of your business.
What things should I keep in mind while creating an employee handbook?
You need to be familiar with the federal and provincial labour laws so that you do not set down any policies or practices that may be in violation of the law.
You must also assess the needs of your business to decide what policies to include that will protect your business from legal claims.
While you must explain your policies in detail, they must be written in a clear and simple language. This will help avoid confusion, misinterpretation or leave any scope for loopholes.
You will also need to regularly update the handbook to keep up with the changing laws and your internal policies.
Writing a handbook for your business requires a lot of work. This is where Peninsula can help. When you leave the HR hassles to the experts, you free up your valuable time to focus on your business.
Our employment law advisers will review your existing handbook and help you flag anything unlawful or unclear.
If you need help creating a handbook, we will write one for you keeping in mind the law, the best HR practices and the specific needs of your small business.