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What should your employee handbook include?

What should your employee handbook include?

Businessman putting last block to the tower

Business owners who work with a Cook County business lawyer often devise employee handbooks that outline what is expected of their employees and what employees can expect from them as their employer. Business owners creating a new employee handbook or updating their current one should make sure that their handbook contains several key pieces of information to accomplish this main purpose.

Anti-discrimination policies

Employers are required to abide by equal opportunity employment laws, like the Americans with Disabilities Act, that prohibit harassment and discrimination in the workplace. In their employee handbook, business owners should include a section that provides information about these laws and what employees should do to comply with them.


In their employee handbook, employers should include a section that explains that the company is required to make deductions for state and federal taxes. This section of the handbook should also include information about any voluntary deductions that can be made for a benefits program and the business’ legal obligations that have to do with performance reviews, salary increases, overtime pay, bonuses and breaks.

Basic workplace information

With the assistance of a Cook County business lawyer, employers should also include basic information about their workplace in their handbook, such as:

  • What their company’s policies are regarding work schedules, attendance and punctuality
  • How employees are expected to conduct themselves as well as a dress code and a code of ethics
  • What their company’s basic employment policies are relating to job classifications, employment eligibility, probationary periods, transfers and relocations, job postings and the procedure employees should follow when they resign
  • How their employee benefit programs work and what requirements must be met in order for employees to become eligible for these programs

In their handbook, employers should also carefully document what their leave policies are and include how cases relating to time off for court cases, family medical leave, jury duty and military leave will be handled.

Safety and security

While creating or revising their employee handbook, business owners should describe what policies they have in place for maintaining a safe and secure workplace. This section should also include how the business complies with laws set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that have to do with accident reporting practices, potential safety hazards, injuries and other related issues.

While creating their handbook, employers may have concerns about making sure that any legally required information is included. In this situation, business owners may benefit from turning to a Cook County business lawyer who can help them determine if all necessary legal information is outlined in their handbook.

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