A well-designed employee handbook is an invaluable asset for a company to have. It can provide a communication gateway between management and employees concerning employer expectations and company background. Your handbook is also a way to keep your employees safe by documenting workplace policies and procedures.

Legal Protection

When drafting your employee handbook, it is essential to be aware of and adhere to all federal, state and local laws. The employee handbook should clearly define the legal obligations and rights of both the employer and employee.

The employee handbook is vital from a legal standpoint—in many employment lawsuits, the handbook will be a key piece of evidence that can either protect your company or provide ammunition for an employee (or former employee) who is suing you. You can drastically reduce your liability by clearly laying out all employee expectations and prohibited behavior.

Plain English and Readily Available

Thorough, up-to-date, legally compliant, understandable and readily available—these are the essential characteristics of an effective employee handbook.

Aside from keeping a current copy easily accessible to employees, it is also wise to have employees sign a form stating that they received and reviewed the employee handbook. This signature will ensure that an employee cannot later claim that he or she was unaware of a particular policy.

Sections of a handbook

A thorough employee handbook includes many sections and specific policies. Listed here are the sections applicable to most organizations, however, it is important to customize your handbook and include policies that are applicable to your business and its practices. 


Set the stage for employees by greeting them, explaining why you have a handbook and introducing the company’s values, goals and commitments. This is also where you can include the at-will employment statement. 

Employment Policies 

Assure your current and prospective employees that your company complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Share that you support equal employment opportunity for all. You may also include your termination policy here.

Workplace Conduct 

In this section you would discuss your code of ethics, standards of conduct, complaint policy and disciplinary action policy. Include policies that cover drug use, drug and alcohol testing, harassment, bullying and violence in the workplace.

Employee Benefits

This section includes information on employer-offered insurance, COBRA Benefits, taxes, and voluntary deductions.

Time Away From Work

Give specifics on paid time off - how paid time off is accrued, who is eligible, how many days employees are offered, how to request vacation, and payout policies upon termination. This section should also include specifics regarding funeral leave, jury duty, military leave, parental/school leave, religious observances leave, and time off to vote. Other policies may include specifics on lunch and rest periods, nursing mothers, vacation, sick time, communicable disease, contagious illness, pandemic flu policies and Federal Family and Medical leave. 

Information & Office Security

The information in this section helps your employees keep your data and your facility safe. Be sure to include and emergency action plan, visitor policy, and computer use policy. You may also want to touch on the use of recording devices in areas such as bathrooms or locker rooms, in which employees expect a level of privacy. 

General Practices

This section will likely be the bulk of your handbook. Think about including the following if they apply to your business:

  • Anti-discrimination Policy
  • Attendance and Standard Working Hours Policy
  • Background Check Policy
  • Business Expense Reimbursement Policy
  • Company Car Policy
  • Company Credit Card Policy
  • Confidential Information and Company Property Policy
  • Conflicts of Interest Policy
  • Customer Complaint Policy
  • Dress Code
  • Driving While on Company Business Policy
  • Educational Assistance Program Policy
  • Employee Classification Policy
  • Employee Fraternization Policy
  • Employee Referral Bonus Policy
  • Employment of Relatives Policy
  • Improper Payments and Gifts Policy
  • Injury & Illness Reporting Policy
  • Media Relations Policy
  • Online Social Networking Policy
  • Open Door Policy
  • Orientation Period Policy
  • Overtime Pay Policy
  • Pay Periods and Check Distribution Policy
  • Direct Deposit Policy
  • Performance Evaluation Policy
  • Personnel Records Policy
  • Phone Call Policy
  • Physical Examination Policy
  • Safety Policy
  • Severe Weather Policy
  • Smoke-free Environment Policy
  • Social Functions Policy
  • Solicitations, Distributions & Use of Bulletin Boards Policy
  • Time Card Regulations Policy
  • Workers’ Compensation Policy


Include here any forms your employees may need such as expense report, mileage report or vacation request forms.

Additional Policies

Other policies may be implemented or may affect your business. Include the following if they are pertinent to your company or industry: 

  • Adoption Assistance Policy
  • Alternative Working Schedules Policy
  • Diversity Policy
  • Domestic Partnership Policy
  • Employer-provided Mobile Devices Policy
  • Flextime Policy
  • Internal Transfer or Promotion Policy
  • Non-FMLA Leave Policy
  • Personal Leave Policy
  • Salary Advance Policy
  • Smoke-free Incentive Policy

Your Protective Insurance representative can assist with samples of many policies listed. Reach out for assistance.

Categorized in:

  • Driver Management
  • Regulations
  • Workplace Safety