7 Reasons Why You Need an Employee Handbook as an Employer Text and Picture of a man and woman looking at an employee handbook in an office

An employee handbook is a compendium of the policies, procedures, working conditions, and expectations for your company. This resource should have your company-wide policy statements that are designed to govern the business. Let’s look at the most compelling reasons your company should have an employee handbook.   

Why Should My Company Have an Employee Handbook?

  1. Tell Your Employees About Your Company Culture, Mission, and Values. One of the most important components of your employee handbook is the introduction of new employees to your company culture and how they’ll acclimate to your work environment. This can help you to foster a sense of pride and belonging, which will help employees become more productive in a shorter time, according to research. The introduction section of your employee handbook should also have your company vision and your mission statement.
  2. Communicates Employee Expectations. A clear understanding of employee responsibilities is an essential component of your employee handbook. This is a resource for your company’s policies and procedures for things like requesting time off and who to contact if they have questions about the specific policies in the handbook. It also lays out employees’ general responsibilities concerning safety, timekeeping, and reporting.
  3. Tell Your Employees What to Expect of Management. You can give your employees information on your objectives and leadership styles, along with your management best practices. This disclosure will help you foster healthy management-employee relationships. You can also detail logistics like timekeeping requirements, work hours, scheduling, and pay periods. In addition, you should have information about federal and state leaves, such as the NYS Paid Family Leave Act.
  4. Make Certain Important Company Policies are Communicated Clearly and Consistently. Your employee handbook serves as the vehicle to accurately communicate your organization’s policies on conduct and behavior, compensation, and other policies and procedures.
  5. Highlight Company’s Benefits for Employees. You can tell employees about your company’s paid time off benefits, 401(k), health insurance, paid parental leave, and other benefits, along with the policies surrounding them and the eligibility requirements.
  6. Legal Compliance. Your handbook can show that you strive to be compliant with the applicable state, local, and federal rules and regulations. There are a number of regulations and benefits that NYS requires employers to notify their staff about. Having an employee handbook allows you a place to gather those policies and comply with law.
  7. Minimize Risk. Clearly defining workplace policies and procedures can be a significant initial step in defending a business from discrimination or other legal actions. LOVE LAW FIRM knows that many employment-related complaints are based on inconsistent treatment or lack of notice of company policies and procedures. When faced with a claim of discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination, an employee handbook can help make sure your company complies with the law. If this happens, one of the most useful documents a business owner can give to legal counsel to aid in the investigation is their handbook. The employee’s signed acknowledgment will demonstrate that the employee had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the company’s policies, a chance to ask questions, was aware of who to ask for help within the company, and agreed to follow the terms and conditions of employment set forth by the company.

What Should Be Contained in an Employee Handbook?

These are some of the things you should be sure to include in your employee handbook:

  • Company history, vision, mission statement, and core values;
  • Dress code and grooming standards;
  • Workplace safety;
  • Attendance requirements;
  • A code of conduct/policies and/or a code of ethics;
  • A company communications policy;
  • Facility information;
  • Privacy and security information
  • PTO policies (sick time, vacation time, bereavement);
  • New hire and separation policy;
  • Your nondiscrimination policy;
  • Non-harassment policies;
  • Grievance processes;
  • Special NYS and NYC requirements; and
  • Your compensation and benefits policy.

Plus, as mentioned earlier, it should contain an acknowledgment of receipt of the handbook itself. Ascertain whether employees understand everything in the employee handbook, and require they sign an acknowledgment of that understanding. You should make two copies and give one to the employee. Retain the other in their employment file.


An employee handbook is a wonderful opportunity to inform new employees, protect your organization, and communicate your organization’s core values. Ideally, this handbook should be created when you hire your first employee. However, it’s never too late to produce one.

Creating an employee handbook isn’t a one-time process. This document should be consistently maintained to ensure it reinforces your business practices and that your policies are up to date with the latest laws.

An employee handbook can help to mitigate risks that could potentially lead to future legal action. It sets expectations with your employees and tells them what they should expect from you. It is one of your most important documents as an employer.

LOVE LAW FIRM excels at drafting employee handbooks. Contact us to see how we can help!


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Francine E. Love is the Founder & Managing Attorney at LOVE LAW FIRM, PLLC which dedicates its practice to serving entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. The opinions expressed are those of the author. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. 

Francine E. Love
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Founder and Managing Attorney at Love Law Firm, PLLC which dedicates its practice to New York business law