Human Resource Policy¹
Sample HR Handbook (Note: You may use these policies and forms for your business but please revise them to fit your business model. You should not just copy these policies without making certain they fit your business.):
HR Policy Statement
This handbook is intended to provide you with a general understanding of our basic Human Resource policies. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with our policies, as they will answer many common questions concerning your employment with us.
Our HR Policies cannot anticipate every situation or answer every question about employment. They are not an employment contract and are not intended to create contractual obligations of any kind. Neither the employee nor the company is bound to continue the employment relationship if either chooses, at its will, to end the relationship at any time. (Note: "Employment at will" statements are more enforceable in some states than in others. Having this statement cannot hurt, however do not try to apply it if the state in which you are located does not recognize "employment at will".)
In order to retain necessary flexibility in the administration of policies and procedures, the company reserves the right to change, revise, or eliminate any of the policies and/or benefits described in this handbook at any time.
(Note: This must be customized for your business, so what follows is only used to motivate your thinking.)
______________ was formed on __ month/year__. Our Company started because ____________________. Our typical customers are______ _______________________________________________ and we do our best to provide them the products and services they need at a competitive price.
The name____________ pays homage to the fundamental philosophy we have utilized in building our businesses. We believe in "mutual success." We build mutually beneficial professional alliances with our customers, suppliers, and our employees that help all to grow and prosper.
Our main business office is located ________, and we have satellite offices ______________________. From all of our locations, we want to provide superior customer service, _____________, and ___________.
The probationary period is intended to give new employees the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to achieve a satisfactory level of performance and to determine whether the new position meets their expectations. The company uses this period to evaluate employee capabilities, work habits, and overall performance. Either the employee or the company may end the employment relationship at will at any time during or after the probationary period, with or without cause or advance notice.
All new and rehired employees work on a probationary basis for the first 90 calendar days after their date of hire. Any significant absence will automatically extend a probationary period by the length of the absence. If the company determines that the designated probationary period does not allow sufficient time to thoroughly evaluate the employee's performance, the probationary period may be extended for a specified period.
Performance Evaluations and Compensation
Performance evaluations are conducted at the end of an employee's probationary period, to discuss job responsibilities, standards, and performance requirements. Additional formal performance reviews are conducted to provide both the company and employees the opportunity to discuss job tasks, identify and correct performance deficiencies, encourage and recognize strengths, and discuss positive, purposeful approaches for meeting goals.
The performance of all employees is generally evaluated according to an ongoing 12-month cycle.
Merit-based pay adjustments may be given to recognize truly superior performance and shall be at the sole discretion of the company.
Employees who have passed their probationary period are provided the following benefits. A number of the programs (such as Social Security, workers' compensation, state disability, and unemployment insurance) cover all employees in the manner prescribed by law.
The following benefit programs are available to employees:
(Note: Add other benefits here by listing them if you offer them)
The company will grant holiday time-off to employees on the holidays listed below: (Note: paid or unpaid)
New Year's Day (January 1)
Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November)
Christmas (December 25)
(Note: Add other holidays here by listing them if you offer them)
Vacation time-off with pay is available to employees to provide opportunities for rest, relaxation, and personal pursuits. The amount of paid vacation time an employee receives each calendar year will be communicated at the beginning of the calendar year.
Paid vacation time can be used in minimum increments of one day. To take vacation, employees must request advance approval. Requests will be reviewed based on a number of factors, including business needs and staffing requirements.
Vacation time-off is paid at the employee's base pay rate at the time of vacation. It does not include overtime or any special forms of compensation.
In the event that available vacation is not used by the end of the year, employees will forfeit the unused time as permitted by law.
(Note: If you have a vacation formula based on length of service, add it here)
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
It is the policy of _______________ to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. This policy extends to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, benefits, compensation and training.
A reasonable amount of sick leave will be provided to employees. Employees who work in states, cities and/or counties with mandated sick leave laws will be provided sick days no less than the minimum required by the local mandate.
Sick time-off may be either paid or unpaid and will be granted solely at the discretion of the company. Sick leave is not automatic and will be granted only when absences are due to personal, legitimate illness or injury. Sick leave cannot be used for work related injuries-those are handled under Workers' Compensation state laws.
If an employee is absent for three or more consecutive days due to illness or injury, a physician's statement may be requested verifying the disability and its beginning and expected ending dates. Such verification may be requested for other sick leave absences as well and may be required as a condition to receiving sick leave benefits.
Unfortunately, termination of employment is an inevitable part of personnel activity within any company, and many of the reasons for termination are routine.
Since employment with the company is based on mutual consent, both the employee and the company have the right to terminate employment at will, with or without cause, at any time. Employees will receive their final pay in accordance with applicable state law.
It is not possible to list all the forms of behavior that are considered unacceptable in the workplace. The following are examples of infractions of rules of conduct that may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment:
- Theft or inappropriate removal or possession of company property
- Falsification of timekeeping records, the application form, or any other company records
- Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Possession, distribution, sale, transfer, or use of alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace, while on duty, or while operating employer leased or owned vehicles or equipment
- Fighting or threatening violence in the workplace
- Negligence or improper conduct leading to damage of employer leased or owned property or customer property
- Insubordination or other disrespectful conduct
- Sexual or other unlawful harassment
- Possession of dangerous or unauthorized materials, such as explosives or firearms, in the workplace
- Excessive absenteeism or any absence without notice.
- Unauthorized disclosure of business "secrets" or confidential information
- Unsatisfactory performance or conduct
- Gambling in the workplace or on company premises
- Failure to immediately report a work-related injury
- Misuse of company funds/money/equipment/property
Any employee found to be operating a company leased or owned motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs will be immediately terminated.
Alcohol & Drug Use Testing
The company is committed to providing a safe, efficient, and productive work environment for all employees. In keeping with this commitment, employees and job applicants will be asked to provide body substance samples (e.g., blood, urine, hair) to determine the use of alcohol/drugs. The company will attempt to protect the confidentiality of all test results. Alcohol/drug tests will be conducted in any of the following situations:
PRE-EMPLOYMENT - As a prequalification to assuming any position, prospective employees are required to be screened for alcohol/drug use. (Note: It is highly recommended that you use a hair test to screen potential new employees. The hair test gives you 90 days of history of any drugs ingested by the applicant and is fool proof in that the only way to "beat" this test is to have no hair. Urine and blood tests can be defeated a number of ways [do an Internet search on "how to beat a drug test" for an eye opener]. Plus, blood and urine sampling only gives you a three day look-back instead of the 90 days for hair tests. The last thing you want to do is hire someone who has a drug problem and the only way you can be relatively certain of this is to do a hair sampling.)
POST-EMPLOYMENT - Current employees will undergo urine and/or blood drug/alcohol testing after any of the following incidents:
- An on-the-job injury;
- An on-the-job accident with a motor vehicle;
- When there is reasonable suspicion that an employee may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, following a serious or potentially serious incident in which safety precautions were violated or unusually careless acts were performed;
- Where there is reasonable cause to believe the employee is impaired. Reasonable cause shall be defined as those circumstances, based on objective evidence about the employee's conduct in the workplace, that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the employee is demonstrating signs of impairment. Examples of objective evidence include, when an employee shows signs of impairment such as difficulty in maintaining balance, slurred speech, erratic or atypical behavior, or any other appearance of impairment;
- When an employee returns to work from a layoff of more than sixty (60) consecutive calendar days; and
- When an employee returns from any leave (including medical and occupational injury leave) of more than sixty (60) consecutive calendar days;
- Random drug/alcohol testing where allowed by federal, state or local laws.
The company implements as a condition of employment an employee drug testing program and reserves the right to test for drugs at any time during the course of employment as allowed by applicable federal and state laws. Subject to any limitations imposed by law, a refusal to provide a body substance sample under the conditions described above will result in termination of employment even if this is the first such occurrence.
Use of Company Computers
It is each employee's responsibility to safeguard proprietary company information. Never give your User ID or Password to anyone. Employees are expected to exit and log off all systems at the end of every business day or when a workstation is left unattended for an extended period of time.
It is forbidden to copy or install any illegal software onto company computers.
The company provides access to Electronic Mail and the Internet as business tools. These facilities represent considerable commitment of company resources for telecommunications, networking, software, storage, etc. All existing company policies apply to your conduct when sending and receiving electronic mail and accessing websites through the Internet. The display of any kind of sexually explicit image or document on any company system is a violation of our policy on sexual harassment. In addition, sexually explicit material may not be archived, stored, or distributed using company-owned computing resources. If you receive an inappropriate electronic mail, you should delete it immediately and notify the sender of our policy.
The following list identifies each system that monitors activity and the type of information it monitors:
Computers - the network operating system records the following:
- Date and time of login/logoff, and the location of the computer used to access network.
- Date and time a software application is accessed, documents accessed, and how much is typed. In addition, the system allows network administrators to access all documents and to restore some deleted documents.
- Date and time Internet is accessed, location of the computer used to access Internet, websites visited, searches performed, and search engines used.
- Electronic mail (e-mail) - the system allows network administrators to access all e-mail files and messages composed, sent, or received by employees.
- Online research - the system records date, time, and duration of access, user identification number, and searches performed.
Telephones - the telephone system records telephone numbers dialed from each telephone, and the system allows the company to access voicemail messages received by employees.
The company reserves the right to retrieve, monitor, or review any information in its electronic or communications systems, including deleted messages or files as allowed by federal and state laws. If the company reasonably believes that employee(s) is/are engaged in illegal activity or misconduct, the company may use electronic monitoring to produce evidence of that activity, without prior notice to the employee(s).
The protection of confidential business information and trade secrets is vital to the interests and the success of the company. Such confidential information includes, but is not limited to, the following examples:
- Customer lists
- Financial information
- Marketing strategies
- New materials research
- Proprietary product processes
- Research and development strategies
- Technological data
- Technological prototypes
Employees who are exposed to confidential information may be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement as a condition of employment. Any employee who discloses trade secrets or confidential business information will be subject to disciplinary action, even if he or she does not actually benefit from the disclosed information.
(NOTE: THE FOLLOWING TWO DOCUMENTS SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE POLICY HANDBOOK BUT SHOULD BE AGREEMENTS THAT ARE PRESENTED TO A POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE ALONG WITH HIS/HER OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT UPON HIRE AND SHOULD BE PART OF THE HIRING PROCESS DOCUMENTATION.)
_____________ agrees to keep secret and retain in the strictest confidence all confidential matters which relate to the Company, including, without limitation, customer lists, client lists, trade secrets, pricing policies and other business affairs of the Company learned by him or her from the Company and to not disclose any such confidential matter to anyone outside the Company, whether during or after his or her period of employment with the Company, except as may be required in the course of a legal or governmental proceeding. Upon request by the Company, ______________ agrees to deliver promptly to the Company upon termination of his or her employment with the Company, or at any time thereafter as the Company may request, all Company memoranda, notes, records, reports, manuals, drawings, designs, computer files in any media and other documents (and all copies thereof) relating to the Company's business and all property of the Company, which he or she may then possess or have under his or her control.
Signed and agreed to this ____________ day of ________________, 20__.
______________ agrees that at no time during his or her employment nor for a period of one (1) year immediately following the termination of his or her employment will ______________ for himself or herself or on behalf of any other person, partnership, company or corporation, directly or indirectly, provide consulting or other services to, be employed by, or own, manage, operate or control any entity engaged in a business similar to the business engaged in by the Company at the time of such termination of employment.
______________ agrees that, at all times during his or her employment and for a period of one (1) year immediately following the termination thereof, he/she will not directly or indirectly employ or seek to employ any person or entity employed at that time by the Company, or otherwise encourage or entice such person or entity to leave such employment.
Signed and agreed to this ____________ day of ________________, 20__.
For the Company
(Note: States differ on the enforceability of non-compete agreements. If fact, some states do not allow them at all. If you have made entering into a non-compete agreement a condition of employment, you are in better shape than if you have not. Also, in some states the "similar" business test is quite strict and in other states, one year is not considered reasonable. Therefore, before you try to enforce a non-compete agreement, you are urged to seek local legal counsel.)