Remote work has become increasingly popular since 2020, and there’s no sign that will change anytime soon. If your company plans to hire remote employees, you’ll need to create or update your employee handbook.

Employee handbooks communicate company policies, standards, performance expectations, and best practices. They also provide legally required notices and policies, from sexual harassment policies to jury duty leave.

Remote employee handbooks are almost exactly the same as traditional employee handbooks—but if your employee lives and works in a different state, you’ll need to create a state-specific employee handbook to comply with that state’s laws.

While there’s no requirement to have an employee handbook, failing to create and distribute them—or failing to update them for each new state hire—could leave your organization open to significant legal risk. Fortunately, SixFifty makes it easy and cost-effective to fulfill your legal obligations, and help your remote employees succeed.

What is a remote employee handbook?

Remote employee handbooks are largely the same as the handbooks you’d distribute to employees working in the same location. However, some of the required information and optional policies may be different, depending on the state in which they work.

In addition to required policies, you may want to include remote-specific policies, from technological equipment policies to expectations for when the employee will be available.

The specific policies and wording will depend on your industry, company structure, mission, and more.

The importance of having a remote employee handbook

Employee handbooks serve several purposes, serving as an introduction to the company, a useful resource for company policies and procedures, and a way to mitigate legal risk should an employee file a lawsuit against the company.

Remote employee handbooks demonstrate that the company has provided notice of all required employment policies. Without one, or another way to prove you met your obligations, your company can be left open to litigation.

What should be included in a remote employee handbook?

Remote employee handbook requirements depend on the state in which the employee works. They also depend on the size of your company—some state and federal policies only apply to companies of a certain size.

All employee handbooks must include these required federal policies:

  • Equal Employment and Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy (companies with 50 or more employees)
  • Jury Duty Leave
  • Military Service Leave
  • Sexual Harassment Policy

State requirements vary. For example, Arizona employee handbooks have five additional required policies: crime victim leave policy (for companies with 50 or more employees), the state jury duty leave policy, a paid sick leave policy, paid time off policy, and voting leave policy. In contrast, California state laws require 20 additional policies—including locally specific policies for major cities in the Bay Area and Southern California.

Of course, you may choose to add optional policies too. Remote companies may wish to include policies like video conferencing policies, electronic devices while driving policies, telecommuting and technology systems policies, and more.

On the other hand, some policies may be unnecessary, such as dress codes or workplace violence policies. You can still include them, however, especially if there’s a chance that the employee may spend time working in your physical offices.

Ultimately, remote employee handbooks should aim to provide useful and state- or locally-specific employment information, from how the employee will be paid to expected work hours. As long as it’s legally compliant, you’re entitled to add as little or as much additional information as you prefer.

How to create a remote employee handbook with SixFifty

Creating compliant, state-specific employee handbooks for each state in which you hire can be time-consuming and expensive. Racking up billable hours each time you hire someone in a new state can add up fast. On the other hand, relying on generic, one-size-fits-all templates might not cover all your required and desired company policies.

SixFifty has done the hard work for you. Our Employment Docs platform is designed to make generating state-specific remote employee handbooks faster and easier than ever. You can easily create top-tier employment documents for all stages of the employment life cycle, from offer letters and remote employee handbooks to termination letters and employee offboarding.

Our legal team keeps a close watch over employment laws nationwide and updates the platform whenever there are changes. You’ll be notified whenever it’s time to update your employee handbook or other documents, so your company can remain in compliance. It’s the most efficient and cost-effective way to mitigate your legal liability.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a product demo today!

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