As a business owner or manager in California, you have to ask whether your organization needs an employee handbook. How does it help me run the business? What kind of businesses should have an employee handbook?
1. Avoid costly policy mistakes. Having your employee policies in writing helps the boss(es) do the right thing. Know when overtime begins, understand how vacation time is calculated, learn the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees, and so on. Does OT start at 8 hours or 40 hours? Who qualifies to be salaried? A California employee handbook would answer all those basic policy questions.
2. Stop employee claims of ignorance. Employees will have your policies in writing, so they can no longer claim that they did not know breaks only lasted 10 minutes or that smoking is prohibited indoors. Do all of your employees know what your rules are? When everyone gets a copy of the “rule book” they can no longer claim ignorance. With a California employee handbook, your polices will be clear and consistent.
3. Written Policies help to defend against lawsuits. Getting your policies in writing can help when someone claims you were discriminatory or unfair in your labor practices. Does an employee handbook make you immune from court cases? Of course not, but having your policies well-defined and properly distributed to all employees can sometimes be a great aid when having to defend yourself. A California employee handbook offers protection for your business.
4. Get all your supervisors on the same page. If you have more than one manager, then it can get confusing. One boss might contradict another. However, when everyone has the same written policy to refer to, then the confusion is much less. You will lower the chance of misunderstanding or frustration among staff and you will equip your supervisors with a good HR resource.
What policies are typically included in a California employee handbook? Expect a comprehensive handbook to be about 30-40 pages in length and to include the following rules and regulations:
+ at-will employment
+ sick leave
+ employee classifications
+ jury duty
+ social media
+ introductory period
+ leaves of absence
+ pay dates
+ driving while on duty
+ parking rules
+ drug testing
+ dress code
+ employee conduct
+ holiday pay
+ customer service
+ workplace security
+ and much more
Customized Policies– In addition to standard employee policies, some services provide customized policies for your specific business or industry. You may want ton consider adding custom policies covering topics such as HIPAA, driving safety, money handling, hygiene, or telecommuting.
What is not included in a typical handbook? A typical handbook does not cover job procedures, which are too intricate and job-specific. Topics not covered include job descriptions, day-to-day work procedures, and so forth. Also, most handbooks are only in English, since good translation services are rather expensive to maintain legally compliant terminology.
How do I get a California employee handbook? You have 3 basic options for designing a handbook for your staff:
1. Download a Template. Priced from $30 to $350, these templates will require you to invest many hours into personalizing the handbook to your state, employee count, and business specifics. Templates do NOT have typical industry-specific policies. Low-priced templates are just fill-in-the-blank forms, while more expensive templates are actually software programs. We would suggest avoiding the cheaper forms.
2. Have an HR consulting company design a customized handbook for you. Typical price is about $725. Pricing is a higher, but the work is done by a professional who will take the time to know your needs.
New Wind Business Solutions is an excellent HR consulting company that designs California employee handbooks, customized for each client:
(For a 10% Discount, mention the Promo Code: HRQA)
3. Go to a labor law lawyer. This is by far the most expensive option, but you will receive a California employee handbook that considers all the legal intricacies of your business (though it may not include customized policies). This is a good option for complex businesses concerned about employee lawsuits. Typical pricing ranges from $1,500 to $3,500.