Every business with employees should have written documentation stating company policies about employee conduct on the job and detailing benefits and programs offered by the company. Company policies should at a minimum address:
- employee conduct toward employers, other employees, customers, vendors and the public, including harassment and discrimination of all types
- compensation, benefits and insurance
- personal use of company-owned equipment and financial products: computers, phones, vehicles and other equipment, credit cards, checking account, etc.
- attendance and vacation policy
- sick leave/medical leave/maternity leave
- dress code, if applicable
- conflict of interest and non-disclosure agreements, if applicable
- use of controlled substances and/or alcohol on and off the job (including inappropriate use of prescription medications)
- other topics specific to your business
Company policies are usually communicated in the form of one or more employee handbooks that employees read and sign. The handbook/handbooks become part of the employee’s personnel file. Should a problem arise, the business owner can prove the employee was aware of company policies. Don’t just give your employees a copy of the handbook and assume they will read it. Have them read and sign it as part of the hiring process or at a special meeting. (Without a signature, should an issue arise, you can’t prove the employee knew company policies.)
Harassment: Harassment, including sexual harassment, violates Federal civil rights laws. Every business with employees needs a written harassment policy that employees have read and signed. Having one may offer some protection if you are sued. Bullying is a form of harassment and should not be tolerated.
Assistance Resources: For help in creating an employee handbook, see the following resources:
- Idaho State Bar – Look for publication 11-05 “Drafting Your First or Next Employment Contract, Non-compete Agreement and Employee Handbook” under the section “Employment Law.”
- Idaho Human Rights Commission – Sex Discrimination and Understanding Prohibited Practices for federal civil rights laws
- Drug Free Idaho – resources for developing a drug-free workplace policy
- How to Create an Employee Handbook People Will Want to Read
- How to Prevent Discrimination in Your Workplace
- Anti-discrimination and other required posters in English and Spanish
If you would like assistance in creating your employee handbook, contact the business department of your nearest college or university or call your nearest Idaho Small Business Development Center for a referral.
Health Insurance Plan – Establishing
- U.S. Department of Labor – information on compliance with ERISA and COBRA requirements.
- Employee Benefits Security Administration
- Internal Revenue Service – Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions
- eHealth.com – Small business buyer’s guide
- Idaho Department of Insurance – find a list of companies authorized to sell health and dental plans in Idaho