A carefully crafted employee handbook is an important piece of communication between your company and a new employee.
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In theory, your employee handbook should cover nearly every aspect of employment including workplace standards, disciplinary procedures, legal notices and other information that is designed to lay the foundation for a successful employment experience.
By acknowledging receipt of the employee handbook, workers also acknowledge that they have been notified about the policies it contains. An Employment Agreement and Handbook Acknowledgement form is a signed statement with legal teeth – it's your company's protection against claims of ignorance after a worker has violated an employment policy.
Although premium Employment Agreement templates are available, most businesses are capable of creating their own forms. Here are a few tips you'll want to consider when you design an Employment Agreement and Handbook Acknowledgement form for your company.
- First person voice. Unlike every other form your business creates, employment agreements are written in first person, especially if they also address the issue of employee handbook acknowledgement. In other words, use phrases like, "I agree to adhere to company policies," rather than "The employee agrees to adhere to company policies".
- Handbook access. Employment forms usually begin with confirmation of the receipt of the handbook and information about how to access the handbook on an ongoing basis. If your handbook is online, include the address of the specific webpage where it can be accessed.
- Employee responsibilities. Employees are responsible for reading the handbook and for fully complying with the policies it contains. Codify this understanding in a section of the employment agreement.
- Handbook revisions. Employers always reserve the right to modify the handbook, but it's the employee's responsibility to update themselves on revisions. In practice, most employers have a notification process that alerts their workforce to handbook revisions.
- At-will employment. At some point, your Employment Agreement and Handbook Acknowledgement should indicate the existence of an "at-will" employment arrangement. This means that either the employer or employee is free to terminate the relationship according to the policies defined in the handbook.
- Filing & archiving. Employees should sign a copy of the employment agreement form for filing in the worker's individual personnel file.