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Why you need a handbook of procedures

You already know that so much goes into starting your own business, from its conception to realization. One step you want to remember is forming your company's handbook. Also known as the employee handbook, it outlines to your employees the policies and procedures of your company.

Having your employees read it ensures they will know and follow the rules of conduct and performance expectations. When you present this information clearly and thoroughly in writing, it can serve as a protection should you find yourself in a legal dispute with one of your workers later on. Even if you already have a handbook in place, it is wise to review it with a lawyer to ensure its legal strength and validity.

What to include in the handbook

While every business will have its own policies and procedures, some are mandatory from the state and national level. These areas include discrimination and harassment, employee classification, medical leave, and workers' compensation. Other sections you should have in the handbook are:

  • An introduction with important disclaimers
  • Dress and appearance
  • Behavior and disciplinary action
  • Safety regulations
  • Wages, benefits and promotions
  • Attendance and time off
  • Privacy
  • Use of company property
  • Termination of employment

Additional information will depend on the size and industry of your business. Putting in nonessential facts, such as history and goals, can help your employees better understand the culture and purpose of your company. Include anything else you think would help your employees succeed at their jobs.

Creating the handbook

For the best legal protection, a business law attorney should guide and assist you in the process of drafting the book to ensure no ambiguity, errors or missing details. Once you have distributed the book, have your employees sign something to acknowledge that they read and understand it. Update it frequently, as the needs you have and problems you face may change with time.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C.

1290 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

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