Employee Handbook Templates (7)

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Updated March 16, 2022

An employee handbook outlines an employer’s rules, benefits, and preferred conduct in day-to-day activities. Every employee should be required to read and sign the handbook after starting employment.

Is a Handbook Required by Law?

An employee handbook is not required under federal law or in any State.

Although, some States require handouts for specific employers.

For example, California requires that organizations of at least five (5) employees must provide an agreement covering sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention policies. (Gov Code § 12950.1). All of which are covered in an employee handbook.

Table of Contents

By Type (7)


Daycare Employee Handbook

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Medical Office Employee Handbook

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Non-Profit Employee Handbook

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Pharmacy Employee Handbook

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Restaurant Employee Handbook

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Small Business Employee Handbook

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University Employee Handbook

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What Should be Included? (10 items)

Step 1 – Mission Statement

A welcome message should be included with a brief description of the organization’s purpose. This is often referred to as a ‘mission statement’ that gives an employee a quick summary of the organizational culture.

Step 2 – Employment Classes

The classes of employment should be defined including the conditions for termination. Specifically, the following should be described:

  • At-Will Employment – Explains that an employee can be terminated for any reason (with or without cause).
  • Eligible Employee – Describes the qualifications for eligible employees which may include part-time off (PTO) and benefits.
  • Full-Time Employee – The number (#) of hours required to be qualified as a “full-time” employee.
  • Introduction Period – Or “precautionary period, an initial period where an employee is not eligible for benefits.
  • Seasonal Employee – For employees hired for a temporary period.

Step 3 – Compensation

All details regarding compensation should be included in this section, including:

  • Payment Intervals – It is most common for employees to be paid on a weekly basis.
  • Deductions – To mention the types of deductions made to an individual’s paycheck.
  • Overtime pay – To inform an employee of the overtime rate. The federal required rate is 1.5x hourly rate for each hour worked beyond 40 hours/week.

Step 4 – Benefits

  • Employer Benefits – Any type of group benefits sponsored by the employer such as health insurance, 401(k) plans, etc.
  • Paid-time off (PTO) – Includes vacation time, sick leave, holidays, and any other days an employee is paid while taking time off.
  • Maternity Leave – In accordance with federal law (FMLA), an employee is entitled to twelve (12) weeks off (for both partners).
  • Government Benefits – Such as unemployment insurance and social security statements.
  • Leaves of Absence – Conditions for when an employee can take unpaid time off.

Step 5 – Anti-Discrimination

There should be clauses mentioned that reflect federal anti-discrimination policies such as:

  • Equal Opportunity Employer – Discloses that the employer does not discriminate against race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or veteran status.
  • Disability – That the employer agrees to accommodate any person with a disability in accordance with the ADA and ADAAA.
  • Sexual Harassment – Lets employees know that harassment of any type is not allowed and how it should be reported.

Step 6 – Immigration Policy

That the employer requires an Employment Eligibility Form (I-9) for each employee. This helps to secure that the individuals being hired are allowed to work in the United States.

Step 7 – Non-Disclosure (NDA)

Also known as a “confidentiality agreement”, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prohibits an employee from sharing trade secrets to third (3rd) parties.

Step 8 – Dress Code

To include if there is any dress ware that is required such as a uniform or other professional attire.

Step 9 – Social Media Policy

A social media policy prohibits specific content that can be shared online to social media websites.

Step 10 – Drug Policy

Whether alcohol or drugs are accepted at the workplace and if the employer conducts drug testing.

Sample – Employee Handbook

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How to Write

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I. Handbook Title Page And Introduction

(1) Issuing Entity Name. The title page of this handbook requires some information so that it may be easily recognized. Produce the name of the Company that is issuing this handbook on the blank line in the title.

(2) Version. The most recent revision date of this handbook will inform the reader (and the å) whether it is the most up-to-date handbook available to Employees from the Issuing Company. Furnish the date of the last time this handbook was edited, revised, or changed in any way.

(3) Company Name. The full name of the Company should be confirmed in the introduction displayed in Section I. Produce the full legal name of the Issuing Company to the first space on display in the introduction.

(4) Type Of Hiring Company. A basic choice will need to be made as a part of the introduction. The type of Company that is issuing this handbook will need to be properly categorized. This can be accomplished by either placing a mark in the “For-Profit” checkbox to categorize the Issuing Company as one that operates to make a profit or by marking the “Non-Profit” checkbox to establish the Issuing Company as one that does not operate to make money or a profit. Only one of these checkboxes may be selected

(5) State Of Jurisdiction. The State where the Issuing Company (the Employer) was legally established and whose laws apply to its behavior must be documented during the introduction as well. Seek out the second empty line in the introduction then produce the entire legal name of the Employer or Issuing Company.

II. General Employment Conditions

(6) For Full Time Employee. The next area that requires attention is found in Section “2.2 Employment Classifications.” Here, any Employee receiving this handbook must be informed of the number of hours a week that he or she must work to be considered a Full-Time Employee of the Company. To this end, document the exact number of hours that must be worked every week to qualify as a Full-Time Employee in the space provided in Statement (A).

(7) Probationary Requirement. The second section will also serve to inform the Employee of the length of time that constitutes the amount of time that the new hires will be on probation. Since this may differ from Employee to Employee, the longest probation period this Employer expects of new hires should be documented in Statement (D).

III. Compensation

Select Item 8, Item 9, or Item 10

(8) Weekly Payment. Section 3.1 will also request that some information be documented for the benefit of the Employee’s edification. The first topic of discussion in this section will be the compensation the Employer shall pay the Employee. The frequency of these payments must be presented in this section by selecting one of three checkboxes. If the Employee will be paid once a week, then the “Weekly” box must be selected

(9) Bi-Weekly Payment. If the Employee is paid once every two weeks the “Bi-Weekly” checkbox should be selected.

(10) Monthly Payment. If neither of these applies and the Employee will be paid once a month then choose the “Monthly Basis” checkbox.

Select Item 11 Or Select Item 12

(11) No PTO. Whether the Employer will pay the Employee for time off in certain conditions or not must be established in this handbook. Section 3.5 will allow the quick production of definitive information the Employee will need with a presentation of two basic checkbox statements. If the Employer does not pay for any time off under any circumstances, then select the “Does Not” checkbox statement. If the Employer does not grant paid time off then, proceed to Item 20.

(12) PTO Provided. If the Employer does grant paid time off, then select the second checkbox statement in Section 3.5. Some additional discussion will be necessary for this selection beginning with a record of the number of days that the Employee must give as notice during when requesting paid time off. Once done, review Items 11 through 19 so that all applicable PTO’s (paid time off) can be established and reported to the Employee reviewing this literature.

Discuss Items 13 Through 19 As Needed

(13) Bereavement. If the Employer shall provide payment during the Employee’s requested time-off should it be to mourn a Family Member or Loved One then select the “Bereavement Statement.” The number of days the Employee will be allowed to take off while being paid for “Bereavement” must also be established by recording it in the space available.

(14) Jury Duty. When an Employee is called to act as a Juror he or she can still be eligible for paid time off provided this is established in the handbook. Select the second checkbox statement if the Employer will pay the Employee for some or all of his or her time off needed for jury duty. This statement allows for a specific number of days to be named when the Employee will be eligible for full pay (minus the amount paid by the State or Federal Government for serving as a jury). Supply the number of days when the Employee will be paid his or her pay rate to this statement in the space provided. It should be noted this number of days of paid time off shall apply beginning on the first date when jury duty begins.

(15) Personal Days. Some Employers will grant a number of days off from work to the Employee for personal reasons. Select the “Personal Days” checkbox if this will be the case. Additionally, provide the number of personal days that will be allotted to the Employee every one year when he or she may take time off from work for personal reasons and still be paid by the Employer in the space provided.

(16) Sick Days. If the Employer intends to pay the Employee for days he or she does not work because of sickness then the fourth checkox statement must be selected. Additionally, the maximum number of sick days off that the Employer will pay the Employee should be indicated with an entry to the space this statement provides.

(17) Vacation Days. Some Employees will be eligible for a number of paid vacation days. The fifth statement in this list should be selected and the maximum number of days that may be taken by the Employee as a paid vacation must be defined in the space provided.

(18) Voting. If the Employer will pay the Employee for one day per year to vote in a local election or federal election, then the “Voting” checkbox must be chosen.

(19) Federal Holidays. If the Employer will continue to pay the Employee during time off for a “Federal Holiday” then mark the seventh checkbox must be selected. In addition to selecting this statement, each federal holiday that the Employer will give the Employee as paid time off must be selected from the list provided. Bear in mind, that any holiday selected from this list will be considered a holiday that the Employee will not be obligated to work during and still be entitled to his or her normal pay rate.

Select Item 20 Or Complete Item 21

(20) Forfeited Time Off. Oftentimes, the Employee will not take the maximum amount of paid time off allowed to him or her during the year. If he or she will not be allowed to add it to the next year’s allowed paid time off, then select Statement (A) from Section 3.5.

(21) Rolled Over Time Off. If the Employee will be allowed to take apply any paid time off to the next year then choose the checkbox labeled “Rolled Over.” An additional choice will need to be made. If the Employee may roll over the maximum amount of paid time off that he or she has not taken during one year to the next year, then the “Unlimited” checkbox should be selected. However, if a limit will be imposed then choose the “Limited…” statement and produce the maximum number of hours of unused paid time off for one year that may be applied to the next year in the space provided.

Choose Item 22 Or Choose Item 23

(22) Minimum Maternity Leave Available. The Employer will be obligated to meet the minimum amount of time off given to the Employee as a result of the Employee being unable to work due to pregnancy/childbirth and similar medical conditions or that Employee’s Spouse is disabled because She is disabled by pregnancy/childbirth and related medical issues.

(23) Number Of Weeks Off Maternity Leave. If the Employer opts to allow time off for the Employee (or his or her Spouse’s) pregnancy, childbirth event, and other related medical conditions then the second checkbox statement should be selected and the maximum amount of paid time off allowed should be documented in the space provided.

Select From Items 24 Through Item 29 As Needed

(24) Health Insurance. Section 3.8 Employer Benefits will allow the Employer to document which benefits the Employee may (potentially) participate in during his or her employment. Select “Health Insurance” if the Employee will be allowed to participate in a group health insurance plan provided by the Employer.

(25) Life Insurance. The second checkbox must be selected if the Employer will offer the Employee a life insurance plan through its current available programs.

(26) Flexible Spending Account. If the Employer has set up an account or program where the Employee may have some of her pay withheld and saved for out of pocket medical expenses (both for the Employee’s health or his or her Dependent’s health), insurance premiums, and other related Health Care functions then select the “Flexible Spending Account (FSA)” statement. Naturally, such withholding will be done before taxes are subtracted from the Employee’s payment.

(27) 401(k) Plan. Select the next checkbox statement if the Employer has set up a 401(k) plan to aid the Employee’s efforts to prepare for retirement.

(28) Commuter Benefits. Some Employers will have set up programs to aid the Employee in getting to and from work through public transportation. Such a program involves withholding a certain amount from the Employee’s payment before taxes are applied then funnels this money into a commuter program that the Employer makes available to the Employee at the request of the Employee. Select the fifth list item if the Employer issuing this handbook has set up such a program.

(29) Other Benefits. If the Employer participates in other programs that can provide benefits to the Employee that remains undefined by this list then place a mark in the “Other Benefits” checkbox and use the space provided to define every benefits package available to the Employee left uncovered by this list.

V. Standards Of Conduct

Select Item 28 Or Select Item 29

(30) No Dress Code. A few more issues will need to be handled before this handbook may be considered ready for the Employee’s acknowledgment. Section 5.3 will inform the Employee of any dress code policy that may be required by the Employer. This policy must be defined even if “No Dress Code” requirement will be imposed by the Employer. Therefore, if the Employer has not imposed a dress code where Employees will be expected to dress a certain way or refrain from predetermined items/fashion then select the “no Dress Code” statement.

(31) Dress Code Requirement. If the Employer expects Employees to wear a uniform, dress according to a defined standard, or refrain from dress items, accessories or other fashions then select the second statement (labeled “Dress Code.”) After making this selection, the manner or way the Employees must dress when working will require must be defined in the space this statement provides.

Select Item 32 Or Select Item 33

(32) No Drug Testing. If the Employer has not instituted a substance abuse or drug policy that requires the Employee to submit to drug testing, then select the “No Drug Testing” checkbox.

(33) Drug Testing Requirement. If the Employee will be obligated to submit to “Drug Testing” (so long as such tests are conducted in compliance with local and federal law) then select the second checkbox statement in Section 5.6

VI. Employee Signing

(34) Employee Signature Acknowledgment. After he or she has read the handbook, the Employee must sign then print his or her name as an acknowledgment of receiving and understanding its content.

(35) Employee Signature Date. The date when the Employee signs his or her name to officially acknowledge the content of this handbook must be submitted as he or she provides the required signature.