Employment Policies

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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One clause is common to all, if not virtually all, employment policies in companies and organizations across the United States. There will be, the language generally reads, "no discrimination on the basis of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, membership or nonmembership in an employee organization, or personal favoritism." That's the starting point.

A quick checklist of other issues that company and personnel policies and practices cover will include pay periods, timekeeping, overtime, profit-sharing, payroll deductions, expense reimbursements, vacations, sick leave, holidays, and family and medical leave. It will address email and internet use, compensatory time, holidays, computer use, and far more. But enough of laundry lists. Employment and personnel policies are more than documents and legalese.

Documenting Employment Policy

Good policies, if they're enforced, mean the difference between happy and productive employees and an inefficient, cut-throat, negative environment. Good policies help protect the company by forestalling lawsuits, either by malcontent employees or administrative agencies. Good policies, however, mean an active and sensitive management team, a well-trained human resources staff, and an informed workforce.

There is no law requiring that companies provide an employee handbook on company policy, but it's a good idea. Employees will know what is expected of them and what they can expect of the company. Policy should be enforced across the board. Keeping personnel files for each employee is important; these files should include all job-related documents, from tax and health forms to performance appraisals to salary and payroll information.

Documenting everything is critical. It might sound a bit paranoid, but protects both the employees and the company. Equally important, however, is open discussion, a sense of collaboration, and--above all--a sense of fair play among all players. Working with a third party company to develop employee policies can be a wise idea, as you can benefit from the knowledge of those who have gone before you.


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