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Employee Handbooks

Does Your Small Business Need a New or Updated Employee Handbook?

Below are some common questions typically raised by employers when asked if an employee handbook is necessary for their business and should help you in determining whether it is time for a new or updated handbook.  

Q. Does my company need an updated handbook?

A.  Unless your handbook has been revised in the past year, your handbook may be out of date regarding a number of employee issues. 

Q.  What is the benefit of an updated handbook?

A.  An employee handbook is a "road map" that will tell your employees what you expect from them and what they cannot expect from you. When roads change, maps are updated.  When laws change or procedures in the workplace change a handbook needs to be revised.

Q.  My company is small, do I really need a handbook?

A. Even small companies need a well drafted employment handbook.  Every employer should have written policies that provide information for its employees explaining the rules in the workplace. 

Q. How can a handbook protect me and my company?

A.  Ultimately a well drafted handbook will protect you and your company.  While a handbook cannot prevent you from being sued, a good handbook that is followed can help you in the event an employee does file suit. 

Q.  When should employees receive a handbook

A.  Give your employees a handbook when they are initially hired, and give them updates when applicable.  Make sure they sign and acknowledgment that they received the handbook and your keep copies of their signed receipts. 

Q.  How often should my handbook be updated?

A.  Have an attorney review the handbook on a regular basis (once a year or every two years) to make sure it is in compliance with any revisions to state and federal laws.

Q.  I have given my employees handbooks but we don't always follow the rules.  Is that a problem?

A.  Yes.  Not following procedure, or only requiring some of the employees to follow the procedures can be very detrimental.  You should follow your procedures consistently.  You do not want your employees claiming that the rules apply for some, but not all employees. Consistency will help your defense to both internal claims and lawsuits.

Q. How large should the handbook be?

A. There is no “one size fits all” approach.  Gebhardt and Kiefer can your help you develop the appropriate handbook for your company.  Call us for assistance at 908-735-5161, or contact us by e-mail. With offices in Clinton Township (Annandale) and Bridgewater, our firm serves clients throughout central and northwestern New Jersey.