An employee handbook can be a valuable communication resource for the employer and the employee. It provides guidance and information related to the company’s history, mission, values, policies, procedures and benefits in a written format. It is also viewed as a means of protecting the company against discrimination or unfair treatment claims. It is an easily accessible guide to the company’s policies and practices as well as an overview of the expectations of management. In contrast, a policy is a written statement that reflects the employer’s standards and objectives relating to various employee activities and employment-related matters.
Employers should require every employee to provide a written statement of having received the handbook.
The acknowledgment should be saved in an employee’s personnel file as a way for the company to establish that the employee was made aware of the policies. By no means should the handbook be construed as an employment agreement, which may affect the employment-at-will status. As a legal document, it is important to have the handbook reviewed by legal counsel.
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