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Employee handbook

An employee handbook or employee manual details guidelines, expectations and procedures of a business or company to its employees.

Employee handbooks are given to employees on one of the first days of his/her job, in order to acquaint them with their new company and its policies.


While it often varies from business to business, specific areas that an employee handbook may address include:

  • A welcome statement, which may also briefly describe the company’s history, reasons for its success and how the employee can contribute to future successes. It may also include a mission statement, or a statement about a business’ goals and objectives.
  • Orientation procedures. This usually involves providing a human resources manager or other designated employee completed income tax forms, providing proof of identity and eligibility for employment.
  • Definitions of full- and part-time employment, and benefits each classification receives. In addition, this area also describes timekeeping procedures (such as defining a “work week”). This area may also include information about daily breaks (for lunch and rest).
  • Information about employee pay and benefits (such as holidays and insurance). Usually, new employees are awarded some benefits, plus additional rewards after having worked for a company for a certain period of time. These are spelled out in this section.
  • Expectations about conduct and discipline policies. These sections include conduct policies for such areas as harassment, alcohol and drug use, and attendance; plus, grounds for dismissal (i.e., getting fired) and due process. There should also be information about grievance procedures.
  • Guidelines for employee performance reviews (such as how and when they are conducted).
  • Policies for promotion or demotion to a certain position.
  • Rules concerning mail; use of the telephone, company equipment, Internet and e-mail; and employee use of motor vehicles for job assignments.
  • Procedures on handling on-the-job accidents, such as those that result in injury.
  • How an employee may voluntarily terminate his job (through retirement or resignation), and exit interviews.
  • A requirement that employees keep certain business information confidential. This area usually includes information about releasing employee records and information, as well as who may retrieve and inspect the information.

“I agree” form

New employees are usually required to sign a form stating they have read and understand the information, and accept the terms of the employee handbook.

Revisions to an employee handbook vary from company to company. At many larger companies, a revised handbook comes out annually.