When you plan to hire employees who work in MA, your Massachusetts employee handbook should comply with all applicable Massachusetts and federal 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 and show that they have complied with applicable law. Customized, state-specific handbooks not only provide an introduction and guidance for employees and managers, but they can also protect your organization from legal liability.

If you’re hiring employees in more than one state, however, researching and drafting state-specific employment laws can be time-consuming and expensive. Fortunately, SixFifty has created an employment document tool to help employers comply with applicable laws in all 50 states.

Here’s what to know when you’re creating a Massachusetts employee handbook.

Required Massachusetts employee handbook policies

Massachusetts requires employers to implement and comply with 15 state-specific policies:

  • Domestic Violence Leave Policy (organizations with 50 or more employees)
  • Day of Rest Policy
  • FMLA Policy
  • Holiday Policy
  • Jury Duty Leave Policy
  • Meal and Rest Breaks Policy
  • Overtime Policy
  • Paid Sick Leave Policy
  • Parental Leave Policy (organizations with 6 or more employees)
  • Pay Transparency Policy
  • Small Necessities Leave Policy (organizations with 50 or more employees)
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Volunteer Firefighter an Emergency Medical Technician Leave Policy
  • Voting Leave Policy
  • Witness Duty Leave Policy

The law requires employers to implement and comply with all of these policies, but it does not specifically require employers to document them in an employee handbook. However, many employers choose to do so because a comprehensive and easy-to-use employee handbook ensures that all employees can access and understand the policies that govern the workplace. Note that three of these policies have an employee number threshold. Employers with fewer than the required number of employees generally don’t have to implement those specific policies.

Optional MA employee handbook policies

In addition to the 15 required policies, employers should consider including the following optional state policies:

  • 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
  • Direct Deposit Policy
  • Dress Code 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
  • Immigration Law Compliance
  • Lactation Accommodation Policy
  • Leave Policies, including: Bereavement Leave; Organ, Bone Marrow, and Blood Donor Leave; Crime Victim Leave
  • Marijuana Policy
  • Off-Duty Use of Facilities
  • Outside Employment 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
  • Salary Pay Policy
  • Social Media Policy
  • Solicitation and Distribution of Literature Policy
  • Technology Systems Policy
  • Telecommuting Policy
  • Temporary Relocation Policy
  • Timekeeping Policy
  • Video Conferencing Policy
  • Workers’ Compensation Policy
  • Workplace Violence Policy
  • Workplace Visitor Policy
  • Workweek and Work Schedules Policy

Employers don’t have to include all of the optional policies—the ones you include will typically depend on your industry, company, employment type, and more. For example, in a remote workplace, there’s no need to include a workplace visitor policy, but a telecommuting policy would likely be helpful.

Required federal employee handbook policies

In addition to the state-specific policies listed above, every employer must implement the following policies to comply with federal law:

  • 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 Policy
  • Military Service Leave Policy
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Lactation Accommodation Policy
  • Religious Accommodation Policy

Employers in all 50 states are required to implement these policies, in addition to any that are required by the specific state(s) in which they do business. Note that Massachusetts separately requires a state-level FMLA policy that does not have an employee threshold, so Massachusetts employers will still need to include the state-specific version—even if they have fewer than 50 employees.

How to create a Massachusetts employee handbook

Researching and drafting your own state-specific employee handbooks can be daunting. Even if you’re only including the required state and federal policies, it can be risky. If your written policies violate federal or Massachusetts state employment laws, it could leave your company open to significant legal risk.

In turn, organizations have a few options. You could hire an attorney to draft a handbook for you. This ensures compliance, but if you’re creating more than one state-specific employee handbook, the billable hours can add up fast.

You may be tempted to turn to one-size-fits-all online templates. This is cheaper, but also risky: there’s no guarantee the language will be compliant in each state, nor that you’ll have all the required state employment policies.

SixFifty understands how tough it can be to quickly and cost-effectively create state-specific employee handbooks, so we’ve created a better option. Our employee handbook creator is designed to support employers through every stage of the employment life cycle, starting with offer letters all the way through separation, termination, and offboarding. Employment Docs makes it easier and more affordable than ever to create top-tier employment documents, like Massachusetts employee handbooks. Best of all, our legal team keeps an eye on the changes to employment law nationwide. If there’s any new legislation, we’ll notify you so you can regenerate your handbooks as needed.

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.