Checklist: What to Include in a New Employee Manual

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Employee manuals are not only helpful for new employees during orientation. These tools also protect you in the case of potential lawsuits. While creating an employee manual is not the simplest or most enjoyable project, it can be an opportunity for explaining your expectations and describing company policies. Creating an effective employee manual can allow you to reinforce positive employee behavior and encourage open communication between employees and management.

Checklist for Building an Effective New Employee Manual

We gathered a list of important sections for all new employee manuals. We used a list on to form our checklist.


This section should outline your legal obligations regarding overtime pay, pay schedules, performance reviews, salary increases, time keeping records, breaks and bonuses. Make sure it not only discusses legal requirements, but is specific to your company’s specific practices. You should clearly explain the required deductions for federal and state taxes, in addition to voluntary deductions for benefits programs.

Anti-Discrimination Policies

All employee handbooks should include information about the Equal Employment Opportunity Laws which prevent discrimination and harassment. This section should outline how employees are expected to comply with the laws.

General Employment Information

This part of the handbook explains your business and general policies. You’ll want to include employment eligibility, employee referrals, termination and resignation procedures.

Standards of Conduct

In this section you can outline your expectations for employee conduct. Whether you have strict dress codes or more relaxed policies, this is your chance to put them in writing. Explain employee ethics and remind them of their legal obligations.

Work Schedules

You should describe your company’s policies regarding attendance, punctuality, work hours and schedules. Be sure to include guidelines for reporting absences and any information about telecommuting.

Non-Disclosure Agreements and Conflict of Interest Statements

These are not legally required, but they help protect your company’s trade secrets and proprietary information.

Safety and Security

If you don’t have your company’s plan for a safe and secure workplace in writing, you should. Include your compliance with laws requiring employees to report all safety issues to management. This is the right spot to describe every employee’s responsibility to abide by security policies. This shows your dedication to having a secure workplace for all employees

Computers and Technology

It is vital to include guidelines for appropriate computer and software use.

Employee Benefits

Detail benefit programs and eligibility requirements, outlining optional benefits as well.

Leave Policies

This section should outline policies for employees to take jury duty, military leave, voting, and family medical leave. Be sure that all policies comply with state and local laws.

Creating a new employee manual will help protect your legal interests and encourage employees to follow company policy and become part of the work environment. There are essential legal features to include in your manual, as well as additional areas of focus. If you are creating a new employee manual or revising your current handbook, contact Online Solutions for advice. Call us at 612-963-4421 to learn how we can help your human resources department.

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