It is not uncommon for a new business owner to surf the internet to find a standard employee handbook template. Unfortunately these “canned” templates never contain any state-specific policies that are usually required by state law. Also, since the template is created for such a wide range of companies, most of the really important policies for specific types of businesses (retail, restaurant, construction, agriculture) just aren’t included.
For instance, if you are a construction company that works on federally funded projects, you need an employee handbook that references “prevailing wages” and your employee’s rights under the Davis-Bacon Act. Similarly, the legalities of “maternity leave” and “paternity leave” have changed considerably in the last 5-10 years, so relying on a stale internet posting can really put your company at risk. The bottom line is that online legal templates are usually a waste of your time and money.
You should consult with an attorney to develop a thorough employee handbook for your business that clearly spells out the mandatory federal and state legal rules and regulations to your employees. A well-drafted handbook is possibly the most cost-effective way to manage your risks and liabilities as an employer.
The Benefits of Employee Handbooks
An employee handbook allows you to set the specific standards and guidelines that you want your employees to adhere to. You should view the handbook as a communication tool in which you can describe in detail what your expectations are regarding your employee’s work performance, and what they can expect in return.
In addition to drafting standard operational guidelines, an attorney will make sure your employee handbook complies with your state’s laws, clearly defines policies and procedures regarding employee conduct, and incorporate policies that protect your business.
Finally, one of the best defenses against employee legal claims is having the “rules of the road” set out in your employee handbook. Employee disciplinary actions are difficult enough to navigate, but clear written policies inside your employee handbook are often enough to trump an employee’s “I-didn’t-know” defense.
Attorney-Drafted Employee Handbooks
Federal and Florida State laws require certain standard legal regulations to be provided to employees. Such regulations are often reflected in employee handbooks such as anti-discrimination, fair wage compensation, employee benefits, and safety and security regulations.
Here at The Law Office of Brandon Woodward, P.A. we know exactly what clauses to include and the language that should accompany such clauses. We also understand that your time is valuable, and you have better things to do with your business than surf “free legal” sites and hope you don’t inadvertently violate any of the complex laws regarding overtime pay, family leave, or occupational safety and health. Get it right the first time; let our firm help you quickly and easily draft a customized, legally enforceable, compliant, and easily understood employee handbook for your company.