Your small business needs several types of company policies that inform employees of company procedures and expectations and help avoid confusion and potential legal issues. Some common types of policies in an organization relate to technology usage, attendance, recruitment, pay and benefits, safety, diversity and employee conduct.
There are also some company policies that are required by law, including those relating to employment nondiscrimination and state-specific employment laws. Being aware of these policies can help you write an effective employee handbook.
Recruitment and Separation
Two types of company policies you should have relate to recruitment and separation. Your company's recruitment policy should demonstrate fairness and diversity in the hiring process and must follow the guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in regard to avoiding discrimination based on factors like age, gender or race. You should also mention any state laws, such as those governing at-will employment so that new hires understand the employee-employer relationship.
Your separation policy will explain reasons and procedures for termination, retirement, voluntary resignation and contract expiration, if applicable. Your policy should include any warnings or other disciplinary actions that might precede termination. Your employees should also know how much notice they should give you for resigning or retiring. Your policy should address the surrender of any company equipment and uniforms and include information about separation.
Employee Attendance and Leave
Your employees need policies that explain the expectations for showing up on time each day and the procedures for taking leaves when necessary. The attendance policy should explain how to request time off and how to call off for illness or emergency. You should also note any disciplinary actions that may occur when employees are late or miss work without notification, including any points programs or warnings used.
Your leave policy should address how to request time off for jury duty, vacation, bereavement, sick leave and any other leave your company offers. It should explain requirements for taking these leaves and detail the implications in terms of wages and job security. For example, you might mention that employees taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act won't receive pay for their time off but will return to their same or equal position.
Pay and Benefits
Other types of employment policies your company needs will explain the pay system for employees as well as any benefits programs you offer. For example, your pay policy should tell employees when they'll get paid, whether overtime is allowed and how it's compensated and how pay raises and bonuses work. It should also explain how the company compensates workers fairly based on factors like seniority and role rather than illegal factors such as age or gender.
The benefits policy should detail all programs your company offers for insurance, employee assistance, tuition reimbursement, paid vacation and holiday pay, workers' compensation and disability. It should explain how employees qualify for each program – such as whether a waiting period is required to receive a certain benefit – and how employees can take advantage. For example, your health insurance policy might spell out the number of hours employees must work weekly to qualify.
Acceptable Technology Usage
A company policy about the acceptable business use of mobile devices, computers and the internet is essential for keeping your company data safe and avoiding issues with workplace productivity and your company's reputation.
Your technology usage policy should mention security procedures such as the use of anti-virus software and proper methods for securely accessing company information. At the same time, you should state how and when employees should use technology including any restrictions on discussing the company on social media websites or handling personal tasks on their phones during work hours.
Conduct-Related Types of Company Policies
Your company should also have policies governing employee conduct, such as a code of ethics. These policies should address issues like confidentiality of company information, compliance with laws, fair employee and managerial conduct and conflicts of interest. Your employee code of conduct may also be a good place to mention the prohibition against employee theft.
In addition, include any conduct-related company policies required by law. For example, you need policies that explain discrimination and harassment in the workplace and the proper procedures for reporting and handling such issues. In addition, you'll want to address substance abuse in the workplace, such as requirements that employees abstain from illegal drug use and the use of any drug tests to maintain employee safety. You should also address other safety issues, such as the use of chemicals and equipment, and expected behaviors and emergency procedures.
Some other conduct policies might include your company dress code, rules on misuse of company equipment, expectations about fulfilling job duties and business communication policies. You might also specify the chain of command and any "open-door policy" your business has.