When your company is ready to hire employees, an employee handbook can be an invaluable resource.

Although states can have differing employment laws, there are several main sections every employee handbook should include. Here’s what you should know about your employee handbook table of contents—and how to create a legally compliant, customized employee handbook without the time commitment and expense of hiring a lawyer to write one for you.

What sections should be included in an employee handbook?

Think of your employee handbook as a guide to working at your company. A good handbook gives employees the information they need to succeed at the company, but it can also limit your liability against discrimination and related claims and explain your company’s policies and procedures.

There are a few broad sections to include in the employee handbook:

  • Basic information: This defines the employment category, such as full-time, part-time, and interns. You should include your equal employment opportunity statement here. You may also choose to include a statement about your hiring policies and process as well as attendance requirements.
  • General workplace policies: This section describes your overall workplace policies, including anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, workplace safety and health guidelines, and more.
  • Code of conduct: Next, define appropriate behavior for your employees. This might include sections on the dress code, employee relationships, client codes of conduct, digital devices, conflicts of interest, and other important issues.
  • Compensation: In this portion, describe compensation types, performance review information, and how employees can be trained and promoted within the company.
  • Benefits and other perks: From health insurance to employee lunches, describe the compensation available to your employees and how they can access these benefits and perks. If you allow your employees to work from home, offer expensed memberships, vehicles, parking, or other perks, it should go in this section.
  • Working hours, time off, and leave: Here, you should list everything from the expected work hours and overtime policies to how employees can take time off. This includes paid and unpaid holidays, paid and unpaid leave, how and when they can take time off, and more. Because paid and unpaid leave are often governed by state and federal law, you’ll need to make sure that your policies comply with the laws in the states where your employees work.
  • Employee resignation and termination: Finally, detail the conditions that may lead to termination, and best practices and policies for resignation. You may want to include disciplinary policies and your reference policies.

Because each state has different legal requirements, however, you may need to include more information than what’s included above.

What are the contents for an employee handbook?

The actual contents of your employee handbook will depend on the specific company, industry, state, and jobs you’re hiring for. While you can look up sample employee handbook tables of contents, the actual text is largely dependent on those factors.

As always, there’s a certain amount of leeway you will have, once you cover the major legal bases. Your handbook can be as straightforward and practical or as quirky and unique as you want it to be, as long as it meets state and federal employment law standards. Many companies use their handbook to fully illustrate and introduce the company culture and values.

Customize your employee handbook table of contents checklist with SixFifty

Creating an employee handbook can be overwhelming. There are so many state and federal laws to comply with, and because state laws can vary, it can get especially complicated when you’re hiring in multiple states. It can be tough to balance your desire to be helpful and welcoming to employees with your legal obligations.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all employee handbook table of contents checklist available, aside from the broad categories above, there are ways to make writing an employee handbook and table of contents easier.

SixFifty’s employment tools make it easy to create a legally compliant employee handbook, without breaking the bank. We combine real legal expertise with easy-to-use technology, so you can power your business with top-tier legal documents. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your business, then download the generated document. That’s it—you’re ready to hire your next employee. It’s fast, easy, and cost effective.

Ready to find out more? Schedule a free demo today!

Looking for the employee handbook requirements for your state? View our interactive map for required employee handbook policies by state.