Austin TX Business Law Blog

Friday, November 24, 2017

Drafting Your Employee Handbook

What policies should my employee handbook include?

All Texas employers should craft an employee handbook that sets out the business’ policies, expectations of employees, procedures, and benefits.  You can use your handbook as a means of reaching out to employees to instill your company vision while providing a comprehensive list of rules that can help to maintain a productive and safe workplace.  Every employee handbook will be unique, but most employee handbooks in Texas should include the following:

  1. An introduction to your company:  Consider starting your employee handbook off with a brief introduction to your company and the handbook itself.  You may want to describe the history of the company and its core mission.  You can give an overview of the goals of the handbook as well.
  2. Description of the employment relationship:  You will want to define the nature of the employment relationship between the employer and the employee.  At will employment means that you as the employer do not guarantee employment for any specified period of time and you can terminate the employment relationship at any time.  
  3. Compensation policies:  You should set out the pay, clearly stating how pay and salaries are determined, as well as how raises or bonuses can be achieved.  You will further want to define what constitutes full and part time, as well as your overtime policies and pay.
  4. Sexual harassment and complaint procedures:  Describe what behaviors are considered illegal harassment in the workplace and what an employee should do if he or she becomes the victim of harassment at work.
  5. Time off benefits:  Lay out your policy for vacations, personal time, sick leave, leave due to death or illness in the family, and the like.  Define what employees qualify for paid leave and when.  
  6. Expectations for employee conduct:  You should describe what behaviors will warrant discipline in the workplace, including tardiness or absenteeism.  Set out any drug testing policies your company may have.  Consider including what behaviors could become grounds for termination, while ensuring the list is not exclusive.

Employee handbooks are complex legal documents that must be drafted with care.  Contact an employment law attorney for help drafting your individualized employee handbook that will carefully protect the rights of your business.  


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