When you plan to hire employees to work in Alabama, your employee handbook needs to comply with both federal and state-specific employment laws. While employers aren’t required to create and distribute employee handbooks, they are required to implement and comply with a variety of policies in the workplace. Employee handbooks are a good resource because they allow employers to easily document the required policies while providing an introduction to the company and set expectations. 

Be intentional about the language in your handbook. If it fails to comply with Alabama and federal employment laws, you could expose your company to significant legal risk. If proper drafting wasn’t already, it has become incredibly important in light of the NLRB’s recent decision in Stericycle, Inc. and Teamsters Local 628. In that decision, the NLRB made it clear that any work rule or policy instituted by employers must advance a legitimate business interest and not infringe on employee rights under Section 7 of the NLRA.

SixFifty’s employment documents platform enables employers to generate customized, state-specific employment handbooks quickly and cost-effectively. Here’s what employers should know about creating Alabama employee handbooks.

Required Alabama employee handbook policies

Alabama has eight state-specific policies which must be included in employee handbooks:

  • Crime Victim Leave
  • Election Official Leave (for companies with more than 25 employees)
  • Immigration Law Compliance
  • Jury Duty Leave 
  • Meal and Rest Breaks (minors only)
  • Military Service Leave 
  • Volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Medical Service Leave
  • Voting Leave

Note that the election official leave only applies to companies with more than 25 employees, and meal and rest breaks only apply when your organization hires minors. If you’re close to that threshold or may consider hiring minors in the future, you may wish to include those policies. While there are no Alabama laws requiring meal or rest breaks, Federal law requires that if you choose to offer short breaks (5-10 minutes), those need to be counted as compensable hours. Regardless of the lack of an actual requirement, to promote a healthy work environment, many employers choose to offer meal and rest breaks to their employees anyway.

Optional Alabama employee handbook policies

In addition to the required Alabama policies, employers are welcome to include other optional policies. At SixFifty, we are constantly building new custom policies. Some that we currently offer are below: 

  • Affinity Group Policy
  • Arbitration Policy
  • At-Will Employment Policy
  • Background Check Policy
  • Business Expense Policy
  • Company Property Policy
  • Confidentiality and Trade Secrets Policy
  • Desk Hoteling Policy
  • Dress Code Policy
  • Direct Deposit Policy
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy
  • Electronic Devices While Driving Policy
  • Employee Benefits Policy
  • Employee Classification Policy
  • Employee Dating Policy
  • Employee References Policy
  • Employment of Relatives Policy
  • Exit Interview Policy
  • Gifts Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Holidays
  • Immigration Law Compliance
  • Lactation Accommodation Policy
  • Leave Policies, including: 
    • Paid Sick Leave; 
    • Parental Leave; 
    • Bereavement Leave; 
    • Organ, Bone Marrow, and Blood Donor Leave; 
    • Domestic Violence Leave; 
    • Witness Duty Leave; 
    • Civil Service Leave; 
    • School Activity Leave
  • Marijuana Policy
  • Off-Duty Use of Facilities
  • Outside Employment Policy
  • Overtime Policy 
  • Payment of Wages Policy
  • Payroll Deductions Policy
  • Performance Review Policy
  • Personnel Files Policy
  • Pets in the Workplace Policy
  • Progressive Discipline Policy
  • Public Relations Policy 
  • Punctuality and Attendance Policy
  • Reimbursement Policy
  • Salary Pay Policy
  • Social Media Policy
  • Solicitation and Distribution of Literature Policy
  • Technology Systems Policy 
  • Telecommuting Policy
  • Temporary Relocation Policy 
  • Timekeeping Policy
  • Vacation/Paid Time Off
  • Video Conferencing Policy
  • Workers’ Compensation Policy
  • Workplace Violence Policy
  • Workplace Visitor Policy
  • Workweek and Work Schedules Policy 

Depending on your company and employment type, industry, and other factors, you may not need or want to include all of these policies. For instance, a pets in the workplace policy is probably unnecessary if all of your Alabama employees are working remotely. If your business interests require you to institute other policies not on this list, you can do so; just be sure that your policies don’t infringe on employee rights under the NLRA.

Required federal employee handbook policies

If you create your own Alabama employee handbook, you must also include the following required federal employee handbook policies:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy
  • Equal Employment and Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy (for companies with more than 50 employees)
  • Jury Duty Leave
  • Military Service Leave
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Lactation Accommodation Policy
  • Religious Accommodation Policy

Employers in all 50 states are required to implement these policies, in addition to any state-required policies. Therefore, all of your employee handbooks should contain these federal policies. The FMLA policy is the only one which may vary, depending on whether you have enough employees to meet the threshold.

How to create an Alabama employee handbook

Creating state-specific employee handbooks requires careful research and drafting. It’s also risky: if your written policies violate federal or Alabama state employment laws, even by accident, your company may be exposed to legal liability.

There are a few options to ensure your state-specific handbooks are legally compliant. You could hire an attorney to draft a handbook for you. This is a good way to ensure compliance, but when you’re hiring employees in multiple states, billable hours can add up.

Alternatively, some companies turn to one-size-fits-all online templates. That’s not advisable—there’s no guarantee the templates you use will have all the required state-specific policies.

SixFifty understands how time-consuming and expensive it is to draft employee handbooks, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Our employee handbook creator is designed to help employers through every stage of the employment life cycle, starting with offer letters and continuing all the way through termination and offboarding. It’s easier than ever to create top-tier Alabama employee handbooks which comply with all requirements. Plus, our legal team keeps a close eye on any developments in employment law nationwide. If there are changes, we’ll notify you so you can regenerate your documents.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo today!

Looking to create an employee handbook for a different state? View our interactive map for required employee handbook policies by state.