If you are currently employed or have worked for a company before, chances are you have been given a company or employee handbook. This document is usually in book form and explains the rules and policies set forth by the employer, and is handed to you upon employment. In order to make sure the employer is not penalized for not giving you the information, most require your signature as receipt and understanding of the policies within the document. But oftentimes, once hired, many employees simply disregard the document which can lead to problems in the future. Not knowing what is in your employee handbook could cost you your job.
Most employee handbooks are very specific and list every policy you can think of. It includes benefits, sick time, vacation hours, policies on calling in sick, paid time off, computer and email policies, Internet policies, etc. It is THE document to always keep with you to refer to if there is a problem or concern.
As a human resources manager, I have found in the past that many of the employees did not know the policies and procedures given in the manual. The workers would call with inquiries or email me with questions which were clearly stated in the handbook. I would promptly refer them to look at their employee handbook and some did not even have it anymore. To make things worse, upon hiring in the initial orientation, we went over the ENTIRE handbook to make sure each employee understood the rules and policies set forth.
Case in point. There was the employee who called in sick two days in a row. When she returned to work, she was asked for a doctor’s note. She replied that she didn’t know she had to have one. The company policy was if you were sick for more than one day in a row, upon return, you must have a doctor’s note or the absence would go against their record. The employee expressed her frustration in not knowing that but my answer was, “it’s in the employee handbook.”
Knowing the employee handbook can not only help you keep your job, but help you when you need it. The company must follow the policies and procedures outlined in the handbook, which oftentimes is prepared with the help of legal counsel and is considered a legal document. I had an employee who was sick for eight days in a row and her manager wanted to fire her. When she returned, she had a valid doctor’s note and had called in each day that she was sick, which was in the employee handbook. She could not get fired for her attendance because she followed the company policy to a “T”.
An employee handbook is not just a set of papers that should be disregarded. Your employee is held up to the standards and practices within the document and so are you. Know what is in your employee handbook and refer to it anytime there is a problem, question, or concern.
Knowing what you can, cannot do, the rules and policies, will make your job easier and less stressful. If you do not have your employee handbook, ask your manager or human resources for one. Keep it handy for easy referral.