Free Employee Handbook

Answer a few simple questions Print and download instantly It takes just 5 minutes

Your Employee Handbook

Update Preview
This document preview is formatted to fit your mobile device. The formatting will change when printed or viewed on a desktop computer.
Page of



We are glad to have you join _______________________ (the "Company"). We are pleased to provide you with our Employee Handbook (the "Handbook") to help you in this new and exciting transition. We created this Handbook to communicate the Company's mission and values, culture, policies, procedures, and expectations of our employees and what our employees can expect from us.

Unless otherwise provided in this Handbook, this Handbook replaces any previously issued handbooks, policies or procedures that cover the topics in this Handbook.

Again, welcome to the team! We hope that you find your experience enjoyable, challenging, and fruitful.

  1. Employment Policies and Practices
    1. Equal Employment Opportunity

      The Company is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to the principles of fair employment. We extend equal opportunity to all individuals, regardless of their race, age, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, marital status, disability, or any other status protected under law. This commitment applies to all employment terms and conditions, including decisions regarding recruitment, hiring, placement, compensation, performance reviews, disciplinary actions, and termination.

      The Company provides reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities whenever possible. You can request reasonable accommodations by contacting the Human Resources Department.

    2. Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies

      The Company strongly prohibits discrimination or harassment of any kind. Harassment includes but is not limited to:

      • Unwelcome conduct towards another based on their status (e.g. race, age, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, marital status, disability, or any other status protected by law); and

      • Behavior that creates a hostile or abusive environment or results in an adverse employment decision against another employee.

      Harassment also includes sexual harassment which the Company defines as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is against the law. The Company has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and will treat all incidents seriously, confidentially, and expeditiously.

      The Company will do everything reasonably within its power to protect any employee who reports or helps in the investigation of an incident of harassment or discrimination from retaliation. If you feel you have been harassed, discriminated against, or have witnessed any harassment, please immediately report the matter to your immediate supervisor or the Human Resources Department. If you feel another employee has retaliated against you for reporting or participating in the investigation of an incident, please immediately file a complaint with your immediate supervisor or the Human Resources Department.

  2. Company Policies and Procedures
    1. Code of Professional Conduct

      Employees are expected to behave and perform their work duties in a professional and ethical manner. Employees are also required to be mindful and respectful of each other’s feelings, opinions, and boundaries, to maintain a safe, comfortable, and courteous workplace. Any employee who engages in unprofessional behavior may be subject to disciplinary action.

    2. Dress Code

      Employees are expected to dress appropriately according to their position and work responsibilities.

      The Company's dress code is business formal.

    3. Workplace Safety and Security

      It is of utmost importance for the Company that all employees feel safe and secure in the workplace.

      The Company has implemented several safety measures to protect employees. Employees are partners in keeping the workplace safe, and as partners, are expected to help prevent accidents by reviewing and understanding the Company's safety policies, using provided safety equipment, and keeping work areas neat, safe, and free from hazardous materials and substances. An employee may have hazardous materials and substances in their work area if they are actively using those materials and substances in carrying out their work duties. The Company requires active employee participation in safety drills and training.

      The Company requires all employees to be wary of any potential dangers to themselves, their co-workers, and the Company premises. Employees must immediately report any safety hazards on Company premises that they are aware of, such as blockages of fire escape routes and exits, to management. Employees must notify their supervisor or Company management immediately of any injury or accident, regardless of how minor, and of any suspicious activity or persons.

    4. Prohibition of Drugs and Alcohol

      The Company strictly prohibits the consumption, use, possession, distribution, or sale of alcohol or drugs while employees perform their work duties, whether on company premises or not. Performing work duties under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also strictly prohibited. Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination.

      The consumption, use, and possession of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication are not prohibited, providing the drugs are taken as prescribed and do not impair an employee's ability to perform their work correctly and safely.

    5. Use of Company Property

      Company property (the "Company Property") is for business use only. Company Property includes, but is not limited to:

      • Physical items such as equipment and furniture;

      • Vehicles;

      • Electronics such as phones and computers;

      • Digital items such as computer software and internet accounts;

      • Records, whether electronic or hard copy, such as files, documents, and notes; and

      • Communications, such as voicemails, e-mails, and instant messages.

      Employees are required to return all Company Property in their possession or under their control upon termination of employment.

    6. Expectation of Privacy

      Employees should not expect that any Company Property they work on or with is private or personal to them. The Company reserves the right to monitor and access all Company Property.

      Offices and workspaces on Company premises are also not private to employees. The Company may use video monitoring on Company premises, except in areas where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists (e.g. washrooms, locker rooms, or designated nursing areas).

    7. External Employment Policy

      The Company has no objections to employees maintaining employment external to the Company, providing that any external employment:

      1. Does not hinder the employee's job performance;
      2. Does not interfere with the employee's ability to work their required hours at the Company; and
      3. Does not conflict with the Company's interests or business.

      Employees must not engage in external employment during their work hours at the Company. Additionally, employees must not use Company Property or resources in performing their external employment.

      Before starting any external employment, employees must inform the Human Resources Department that they will be beginning external employment and the start date of that employment.

      Employees who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination.

  3. Employee Classifications
    1. Non-Exempt or Exempt Employees

      The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classifies employees as:

      • Non-Exempt: The FLSA minimum wage and overtime pay requirements apply to non-exempt employees. All employees who are not exempt employees under the FLSA are non-exempt employees. Non-exempt employees receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week.

      • Exempt: The FLSA minimum wage and overtime pay requirements do not apply to exempt employees. Exempt employees do not receive overtime pay. Exempt employees generally hold executive, administrative, or professional positions and are paid a salary of a minimum amount. Employees with some computer and outside sales jobs are also exempt.

    2. Full Time or Part Time Employees

      A full-time employee is an employee who works _____ to _____ hours per week. A part-time employee is an employee scheduled to work less than _____ hours a week. Part time employees may not be entitled to the same benefits as full-time employees.

    3. Permanent or Temporary Employees

      A temporary employee is an employee hired for a definite period or a specific project. All other employees are permanent employees. Temporary employees are not entitled to the same benefits as permanent employees, except as required by law.

    If you have questions or concerns regarding your employee classification, please consult the Human Resources Department.

  4. Work Time and Place
    1. Place of Work

      All employees are required to come to work on-site or in office.

      The Company will provide you with reasonable notice if you are required to work in other locations.

    2. Days and Hours of Work

      The Company's core operating hours are: ______________________________ Employees are expected to be present and working during these hours. Outside the core operating hours, the Company allows flexibility in work schedules so employees can meet their personal needs during the week, such as attending doctor appointments and fulfilling childcare obligations.

      Any employee who needs to leave or take a break from work during core operating hours must request time off from their immediate supervisor.

      Not all employees are allowed to use the flexible time arrangement. If you are unsure if the nature of your job permits flexibility, please contact your immediate supervisor.

    3. Meal and Rest Breaks

      Employees are required to take a minimum break of 30 minutes for 8 hours of work. Employees may use this break for meals or rest.

      Breaks are not counted toward hours worked and are unpaid.

    4. Lactation Breaks

      Employees are entitled to reasonable breaks and a private room near their work area, other than a washroom, to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the birth.

      The private room must have a place for employees to safely store milk, such as an insulated food container, personal cooler, or refrigerator.

    5. Overtime

      Non-exempt employees who work more than ____ hours a week are entitled to overtime pay. The overtime pay rate is 1.5% of an employee's regular pay rate. Exempt employees do not receive overtime pay.

      If you are required or requested to perform overtime work, the Company will give you as much advance notice as possible. You should not work overtime without prior approval from your immediate supervisor.

    6. Absence and Tardiness

      The Company values everyone’s time and expects the same courtesy from its employees. If you anticipate being absent from work, you should inform your immediate supervisor within a reasonable time.

      If your absence or tardiness is due to an unexpected situation or an emergency, please immediately notify your immediate supervisor, preferably no later than an hour before your scheduled start time.

      Excessive or unjustified absenteeism or tardiness is subject to disciplinary action.

  5. Holidays and Leaves
    1. Holiday Leave

      Employees are not required to work on holidays and not given paid time off, except as required by law.

    2. Vacation Leave

      The Company provides two weeks paid vacation for its eligible employees.

      Please provide your immediate supervisor with as much notice as reasonably practicable when requesting vacation leave.

      For more details about the vacation leave, such as its eligibility and duration, please contact the Human Resources Department.

    3. Military Leave

      The Company provides employees with military leave in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). Employees may be eligible for military leave if called to serve in the uniformed services, including active duty or inactive duty training for the Armed Forces, National Guard, or the reserve forces, full-time National Guard duty, assessment for fitness for any such duty, or funeral honors duty.

      The Company will reemploy employees who return from service in the position they would have occupied if they had not been on military leave. The position may be different from the one the returning employee previously held. The Company may promote a returning employee if it is reasonably determined that the employee would have received the promotion had they not been on military leave. The position could also be lower than what they previously occupied if the Company experienced or is experiencing economic difficulties, reorganizations, or layoffs upon their return.

      Returning employees are entitled to the same seniority, pay, rights, and benefits they would have received if they had not been on military leave. For non-seniority rights and benefits, returning employees receive the same rights and benefits as those in a similar position.

      If you are taking military leave, you must inform your immediate supervisor and provide a copy of your report order. To determine your eligibility for military leave, or for more details about military leave, including the length of military leave, please contact the Human Resources Department.

    4. Jury Duty or Jury Selection Leave

      Employees may take unpaid leave when they serve on a jury or attend jury selection. Employees cannot use any of their other leaves (e.g. vacation or sick leave) for these purposes.

      Employees are not required to work within eight hours of their scheduled jury duty or between 5 PM and 3 AM on a day they served on a jury for at least four hours, inclusive of travel time.

      Please provide your immediate supervisor with as much notice as reasonably practicable when requesting jury duty leave or jury selection leave.

      To learn more about jury duty leave or jury selection leave, including eligibility, length, and other related matters, please contact the Human Resources Department.

    5. Living Donor Leave

      Employees who serve as a donor may take up to 60 days of unpaid leave for organ donation and 30 days unpaid leave for bone marrow donation in any 12-month period.

      The living donor leave cannot be used concurrently with the FMLA.

      Please provide your immediate supervisor with a written doctor’s note stating that you are a donor, and that the donation is a medical necessity if you are requesting donor leave.

      To learn more about living donor leave eligibility and other related matters, please contact the Human Resources Department.

    6. Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Leave

      The Company supports employees who are victims of domestic violence or other crimes.

      Employees who have suffered or are suffering from domestic violence, or are victims of a crime, are permitted to take time off to deal with their situation. Employees may use this leave to seek medical or psychological attention, file police reports, attend court proceedings, consult with a lawyer, or perform any other actions necessary to ensure they are protected and safe.

      Employees taking this leave must inform the Company about their situation, preferably in a written statement with supporting documents such as police reports or court orders.

    7. Court Witness or Attendance Leave

      Employees may take time off from work to attend court proceedings as a witness.

      Employees cannot be required to use their sick leave or vacation time for court witness or attendance leave.

      The court witness or attendance leave does not apply to an employee who is a defendant in a criminal case.

      Please provide your immediate supervisor reasonable notice if you are requesting court attendance or witness leave.

    8. Unpaid Leave of Absence

      If all your paid leaves are exhausted, and you need to take time off, you may request an unpaid leave of absence from your immediate supervisor. Your request for unpaid leave must be in writing and submitted at least two weeks before the start of your requested leave. In the case of emergencies or unexpected or urgent circumstances, you may request unpaid leave as soon as practicable before the start of your leave.

      You may only request an unpaid leave of absence if you have exhausted all your paid leaves. For questions about the continuation of your employee benefits during your unpaid leave of absence, please contact the Accounting Department.

  6. Compensation and Benefits
    1. Payroll Policy and Schedule
      1. Pay Period and Method

        Employees are paid bi-weekly via direct deposit.

        If the pay date falls on a holiday or weekend, the Company pays employees on the preceding business day before the holiday or weekend. For example, if the pay date and holiday is on a Friday, the paycheck will be deposited on Thursday.

      2. Pay Deductions

        Every employee’s pay includes their salary or wages earned in the previous period, less any deductions, mandatory or elected.

        Mandatory deductions include taxes, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax payments, and any other deduction required by law.

        Elected deductions, which the employee authorizes, may include flexible spending account (FSA) contributions or 401(k) contributions.

      3. Wage Disclosure Protection

        Employees have the right to disclose their pay information to anyone. Employees who exercise this right will not be subject to disciplinary action, including retaliation.

        Employees who feel their rights have been violated may take legal action or file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

      For questions or clarifications regarding your paycheck, pay period or method, or any related matter, please contact the Accounting Department.

      1. Workers' Compensation Insurance

        The Company provides workers’ compensation benefits for employees suffering from work-related injuries or illnesses.

        If an employee sustains an injury or becomes ill due to their work duties, they must immediately inform their immediate supervisor. Any injured or ill employee may be brought to a hospital or a medical facility to receive the medical attention they need.

        The Company will provide the injured or ill employee with information about the procedure and requirements for submitting their compensation claim. It is, however, the responsibility of the injured employee to report the work-related illness or injury to the administering insurance company as soon as possible and to keep all medical paperwork provided to them by the hospital or medical facility, if any.

        The report should include pertinent details about the illness or injury, such as the time, date, description of the illness or injury, and any witnesses to the incident. Failure to timely report the illness or injury to the administering insurance company may result in the denial of benefits.

  7. Work Performance Reviews

    The Company conducts work performance reviews annually.

    The objectives of a performance review are to:

    1. Evaluate an employee’s contributions and accomplishments to date;
    2. Identify areas where an employee excels and areas where they need need to improve; and
    3. Set short- and long-term objectives.

    Attendance, punctuality, cooperation, teamwork, adherence to Company rules and policies, and previous performance reviews are additional factors in evaluating an employee’s work performance.

    A work performance review also allows employees to provide feedback to their immediate supervisor and Company management.

    Lastly, a work performance review is a helpful tool to determine if an employee will receive a salary increase or promotion or be subject to disciplinary actions or termination.

  8. Discipline Policy
    1. Types of Disciplinary Actions

      Any employee who exhibits unacceptable behavior while performing their work duties or while on Company premises will be reprimanded by the Company using the appropriate disciplinary action, depending on the severity and extent of the violation. Discipline may be in the form of oral and written warnings, probation, suspension, demotion, or termination of employment.

    2. Grounds for Disciplinary Action

      Any employee who violates the Company policies and practices may be subject to disciplinary action, termination, or both.

      Grounds for disciplinary action include, but are not limited to, the following actions:

      • Failure to perform duties or tasks satisfactorily over a period of time;
      • Habitual or unreasonable absenteeism or tardiness;
      • Insubordination or refusal to comply with a superior's orders;
      • Engaging in discriminatory acts or harassment in the workplace;
      • Endangering the safety of self or other employees, including instigation of violence or other aggressive conflicts;
      • Unauthorized use, theft, damage, or destruction of Company property, equipment, or devices;
      • Falsification of Company documents or documents submitted to the Company;
      • Unauthorized disclosure of confidential or proprietary Company information;
      • Possession of unauthorized weapons while at work, on work premises, or while performing work tasks;
      • Possession, distribution, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while at work, on work premises, or while performing work tasks; and
      • Any other action or conduct that breaches Company policies, procedures, standards or expectations.
  9. Termination of Employment
    1. Termination Procedures

      Upon termination of employment, an employee is:

      • Required to continue working for the Company until their last official day of employment;
      • Required to submit all due reports or deliverables no later than their last official day of employment;
      • Required to return all Company files, documents, equipment, and any other property that is in their possession or custody;
      • Requested to participate in an exit interview;
      • Requested to complete any other offboarding tasks that the Human Resources Department may have.
    2. Outstanding Compensation

      Any outstanding salaries or wages, expenses, unused vacation pay, and other compensation will be paid to the employee when their employment ends.

      For questions about pay, continuation of health benefits, or when to expect the last paycheck, please contact the Accounting Department.

  10. Governing Law

    This Handbook will be construed in accordance with and governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.


(Human Resources Department Copy)

I acknowledge that I received a copy of the Handbook and that I understand I am fully responsible for reading the contents of this Handbook, as well as all other policies and procedures of the Company.

I acknowledge that this Handbook will not be interpreted as an employment contract, or an inducement for employment, nor will it guarantee my employment for a period of time.

Please sign and date this copy and return to the Human Resources Department.

Employee's Signature


Employer's Signature



(Employee Copy)

I acknowledge that I received a copy of the Handbook and that I understand I am fully responsible for reading the contents of this Handbook, as well as all other policies and procedures of the Company.

I acknowledge that this Handbook will not be interpreted as an employment contract, or an inducement for employment, nor will it guarantee my employment for a period of time.

Please sign, date, and retain this second copy of the Acknowledgment Form for your reference.

Employee's Signature


Employer's Signature



Last updated February 5, 2024

Written by

Reviewed by


Fact checked by

What is an Employee Handbook?

An Employee Handbook details information about the company’s mission, policies, and benefits. This essential manual is a valuable resource for both the employer and the employee. It helps clarify expectations for all parties in the organization. 

Whether you are creating a manual for your new small business or looking to clarify the policies of your longstanding company, an Employee Handbook is a useful tool that helps to explain the rules, expectations, and processes of a company. 

An Employee Handbook might also be called a/an:

  • Employee policy manual
  • Workers handbook
  • Company policy manual

Are Employee Handbooks required by law?

No specific law requires a company to use an Employee Handbook. However, this document is a helpful way to keep your company’s human resources operations running smoothly, clearly, and efficiently

Some states may require companies to include certain company forms in an Employee Handbook. Check your state’s labor laws to ensure your business is legally compliant, and talk to a lawyer if you are unsure.

Want to learn more about employment laws in specific states? Read our blog post: The 15 Best States for Employers in 2024

What does an Employee Handbook contain?

Employee Handbooks usually include company information, policy information, employee expectations, payment information, and vacation and leave details. 

LawDepot’s Employee Handbook template includes four key categories:

  1. Company details: size, background, and location of your company.
  2. Work terms: details around remote and on-site work, working hours, and break times. 
  3. Compensation and benefits: pay periods, payment methods, and insurance and retirement plan details. 
  4. Miscellaneous: details about dress code and performance reviews.

How to create an Employee Handbook

After you’ve hired a new employee, it's time to prepare for employee onboarding. A New Hire Checklist, Employee Privacy Policy, and Employee Handbook are all essential documents to use during the onboarding process. 

Note: LawDepot’s Employee Handbook Template is customized to the specific rules and regulations of your state. This means that your document will include any state-specific regulations around breaks, working hours, and state-mandated medical leaves. 

Create your Employee Handbook with these six simple steps: 

Step 1: Provide company details

First, our questionnaire will ask you to give some basic details on your business. This includes stating your company’s name, number of employees, and location

Additionally, you can provide information about your company’s background, which might include how your company started, your mission and vision, and what products or services you provide. 

Finally, before moving on to the next step, confirm if your company already has an employee handbook in place, as it will be replaced by this new handbook. 

Step 2: Explain your company’s working hours and breaks 

Next, define the work terms for your business. This includes:

  • Minimum and maximum hours for full-time employment 
  • If your employees will work on-site or remotely
  • If your company has a flexible working arrangement 
  • Your company’s core/operating hours
  • Any rules for meal and rest breaks

Step 3: Describe vacation, time-off, and medical leave details

An Employee Handbook should contain information about taking time off. Usually, this includes:

  • If the company will provide employees with sick or personal leave
  • If employees are required to work on holidays or if they will receive paid time off
  • Which holidays your company will observe
  • If employees will receive paid time off for vacation and, if so, how many weeks they will receive
  • Any additional rules for vacation days

Additionally, you will be asked to specify which types of leaves your company will provide. Please note that our Employee Handbook is customized to your state. As such, our template will already include any leaves that are required by law. For example, in Alabama, employers must provide employees with military leave, jury duty or selection leave, emergency responders leave, voting leave, and crime victim leave. 

Step 4: Outline payment details

This section of the Employee Handbook covers all the important payment information, including how often employees will be paid and how they will be paid

Step 5: Outline any additional procedures, regulations, or benefits. 

The last section covered in our questionnaire will be any miscellaneous employee benefits or regulations that haven’t already been covered, including:

  • Dress code
  • Health insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Performance review details
  • Any additional rules or regulations

Step 6: Finalize and sign the Acknowledgment Form

Finally, both the employer and employee will review and sign an Acknowledgment Form. By signing this document, both parties acknowledge that they have read and understand all the policies and procedures of the company.

Benefits of an Employee Handbook

1. Clarifies expectations and prevents misunderstandings 

An Employee Handbook is a vital resource because it puts all the essential details of working for a company in writing. This helps prevent misunderstandings by creating a document that employees can reference during their employment term. Having a physical document to consult as their employment progresses ensures that individuals can easily navigate company policies and expectations

2. Promotes a positive and honest work environment 

An effective Employee Handbook establishes clear standards, which helps to enhance workplace efficiency. Additionally, this document helps to foster trust and create a positive and honest working environment

Although an Employee Handbook is not a legal contract, having the policies of a workplace laid out in writing offers a certain degree of legal protection. In the case of any legal proceedings, an Employee Handbook is a useful document that clearly establishes the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Are Employee Handbooks legally binding?

No, Employee Handbooks are not legally binding contracts. However, a good Employee Handbook may protect employers and employees in the case of a lawsuit or any other employment-related legal claims.

Related Documents

Create your free Employee Handbook in 5-10 minutes or less
This document preview is formatted to fit your mobile device. The formatting will change when printed or viewed on a desktop computer.
Loading ...
Loading ...

Note: Your initial answers are saved automatically when you preview your document.
This screen can be used to save additional copies of your answers.