Like any employer, household employers must establish fair personnel practices and policies, and apply them equally to all staff. Providing each employee with a household employee handbook that explains the household workplace’s rules, practices, and policies is a necessity, and presents clear advantages to the employer. An employee handbook lets employees know what the rules and practices are within the household. Here are the top 5 reasons for having an employee handbook:
1. Communicates to Employees What is Expected of Them
A well-written handbook provides household employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The handbook also serves as a compass for the household’s policies and procedures. For example, it advises employees what the procedures are for requesting time off or a vacation, as well as calling in sick. The handbook also communicates an employee’s general responsibilities regarding safety, timekeeping, reporting, and so on. By providing this clear, accessible information, handbooks ensure families continue moving in the right direction.
2. Helps Ensure Policies are Clearly and Consistently Communicated
No policy is effective if it is practiced inconsistently. A handbook will accurately communicate your family’s policies regarding employment, conduct and behavior, compensation, and other policies and procedures your may have implemented. Most importantly, employers can refer to the handbook when answering questions or making decisions regarding policies.
3. Showcases the Benefits You Offer
Do you offer vacation time, 401K, health insurance, paid parental leave, or other benefits to your employee? Make sure they know about these policies and the eligibility requirements by communicating them in the handbook. A benefits package can help you retain your best employees, so be sure they know about all of your offerings by communicating these in the handbook.
4. Ensures Compliance with Federal and State Laws
No matter which state you live in, or how many employees you have, you will be subject to state and federal employment laws. Your handbook not only communicates these various entitlements and obligations to employees, but is useful in demonstrating that you strive to be compliant with these regulations. For example, if your employee is called away to active-duty military service, you will want to be sure they understand their rights and obligations when communicating their need for leave to you. Similar policies should communicate rights and obligations regarding state disability leaves, federal FMLA leave, and other government mandates.
5. Helps Defend Against Employee Claims
Unfortunately, there is always a possibility an employer will face a lawsuit or similar challenge from a current or former employee. When this happens, one of the most useful documents you can provide your attorney or third party investigator will be a copy of your handbook. A thorough and compliant employee handbook will help to show that you exercised “reasonable care” toward your employees. The employee’s signed acknowledgement page will show that the employee had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the household’s policies, a chance to ask related questions, and agreed to follow the terms and conditions of employment.
If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.