Use this checklist to audit your organization's employee handbook. Go down the list and make sure that each of the following topics is addressed:

Welcome to the Company:

Letter from the CEO.
Brief history of the company.

Rules and Procedures:

Working hours.
Lunch periods and breaks.
Holidays, vacations and sick leave.
Family and medical leave.
Disability accommodation requests.
Jury duty.
Military leave.
Personal calls/mail/e-mail.
Personal use of company equipment.
Theft and dishonesty.
Misconduct and insubordination.
Use of illegal drugs and alcohol on the job.
Smoking in restricted areas.
Dress code.
Policy on sexual harassment and discrimination.
Employee privacy.
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Employment Policies:

Probationary periods.
Performance evaluations.
Promotions and transfers.
Seniority.
Terminations and resignations.

Compensation:

Pay procedures.
Payroll deductions.
Performance bonuses.
Overtime payments.
Salary increases.
Expense reimbursement.
Severance pay.
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Benefits:

Health, life, disability and other insurance.
Pension and retirement plans.
Workers’ compensation.
Tuition assistance.
Savings and stock purchase plans.

Safety and Health:
General safety rules.
Reporting job-related accidents.

Affirmative Action Statement

Acknowledgment Receipt:

Your handbook should include a statement that each new employee must sign to acknowledge responsibility for receiving, reading, understanding and agreeing to abide by your company’s rules. Keep the signed statement in the employee’s personnel file.

Your statement could read as follows: “I hereby acknowledge receipt of the company handbook. I certify that I have read and fully understand the rules and procedures contained in it. I acknowledge my full responsibility to follow them faithfully in all respects.”

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Your company’s most effective communication tool is often your Employee Handbook. But to keep you out of court, it must be clearly written and legally sound. One small mistake or confusing sentence could see you pouring money straight into your attorney’s pocket as he fends off an aggrieved employee.

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