Employee Handbook - The Three Must Have's

It is time to update your employee handbook and it is a good business practice to review it annually.  Here are three (3) items you should have in your employee handbook:

  1. Employment Laws Should Follow the Employer’s Size

Employment laws require an organization to be compliant based upon the number of current employees who are on the payroll.  Employment laws change when the employment numbers change.  (Please see guidance link below.):

For example, below are the grids of compliance for employment laws.  The more employees you have, the more employment laws you will need to comply with.

1-14 – Small Employer
15-49 – Medium Employer
50+ – Large Employer
100+ – Large Employer with more compliance requirements
Federal Contractors – more compliance with 50+ employees

So, once you know which category you are in, you will need to include the correct and current employment laws within your employee handbook applicable to the number of employees on your payroll.

2.  Policies Should Follow the Employer’s Culture

The organization should include rules and guidelines that are important to its culture. 

    1. For example, do you believe in a code of ethics policy? 
    2. Do you value your assets (company vehicles, laptops, cell phones) that you provide to your employees?  If you do, what are the guidelines for caring for those assets? 
    3. What is your current vacation/sick leave policy? 
    4. Do you require uniforms? 
    5. What is the dress code? 

Please see attached grid of policy titles that are important to our clients.  Bottom line:  This grid assists in establishing the culture we want to help you create within your organization. (Please see Employee Handbook Questionnaire link below, page 2.)

3. Employees Must Sign the Employee Handbook Acknowledgment Form

And, finally, the MOST IMPORTANT part of the employee handbook:  You must have ALL your employees sign off on the employee acknowledgement form attached at the end of your employee handbook.  This signed copy must reside in the employee’s personnel file. Bottom line: This is documentation that may be given to a third party (i.e., Department of Labor, Kansas Human Rights Commission, EEOC or attorneys), if you receive a claim from a current or former employee (unemployment, discrimination, pay issues, etc.).  This document assists the organization with emphasizing that it has educated and administered the employment laws and company guidelines correctly and consistently. (Please see Employee Acknowledgement Form link below.)

One last comment.  Less is best.  HR Partners and Dietrick Law are not fans of voluminous handbooks.  Keep it simple and keep it compliant.

Questions?  Concerns?  Please call us at 785-233-7860.

KS & Federal Labor Laws By Number of Employees

Employee Handbook Questionnaire

Employee Acknowledgement Form


What our clients say...

Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers

Kevin Holland
Vice President 
Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers

"We started working with HR Partners when we had staffing changes in our Accounting and Human Resources department. HR Partners has been there to assist us in that transition and has become a resource that we plan to continue to utilize.

Everyone in their office is professional, courteous, knowledgeable, and always very prompt. HR Partners has been able to provide advice and guidance on numerous HR topics and provided a mandatory Workplace Etiquette for our employees. They have also updated our personnel manual in order to provide clear and consistent polices for our employees. HR Partners would be an asset for any company looking for assistance with any human resources needs."