An employee handbook is a procedural manual which is handed out to people when they commence employment with a new company. The size and complexity of this manual vary widely; a small business, for example, might provide a few photocopied pages, while a major corporation might provide employees with a printed booklet or binder. If you receive an employee manual, it is an excellent idea to read it over with care, since it may answer questions about your workplace while also offering clues on how to succeed as an employee.
A typical employee manual includes information on workplace policies and procedures, along with legal documents which provide specific data on the organization of the company. The language in an employee handbook can get quite complex, as the authors attempt to clearly define issues which may face employees during their time with the company. Typically, a company will require employees to sign a document indicating that they have read and understood the employee handbook.
Workplace policies typically include dress codes, a drug policy, a statement on sexual harassment and diversity, and information about time off for religious, personal, or medical reasons. Information about discounts, benefits, and retirement plans offered to employees may also be included in this section, along with material about how to apply for benefits. In addition, a behavioral code may be included, so that employees are aware of how they should conduct themselves at work. The workplace policies section may also indicate the penalties for violations of these policies, which serves as a legal warning.
Under the section of an employee handbook that covers workplace procedures, employees will learn about how to perform common tasks around the office or worksite. This section may include information on who to go to with complaints, how to get materials copied and distributed, and how to handle clients of the company. By setting standard procedures for routine events in the office, the employer ensures that all situations are handled uniformly. Employees find that reading this section may provide answers to a lot of common questions.
Legal information typically includes a chart showing the organization of the company, along with disclosures about paydays, hiring practices, and union membership. The documents in this section of an employee handbook may be more difficult to read because of the legal language, but they should be carefully inspected to ensure that you fully understand all of the legal ramifications of your employment. This is especially important if you work handling confidential or sensitive material, as there may be specific legal restrictions which you need to be aware of.