If you’re planning to hire employees who live and work in Wisconsin, your employment-related documents need to comply with both federal and state-specific employment laws. This includes your Wisconsin employee handbook. While employers aren’t required to create and distribute their own employee handbooks, it’s a good idea: a well-drafted handbook is a resource for employers and employees. You can introduce new employees to the company, explain important policies and procedures, set expectations for workers, and mitigate your legal risk. However, if your Wisconsin employee handbook fails to comply with all applicable laws, your organization could be exposed to legal risk.
Researching and drafting employee handbooks can be quite time-consuming, especially when you’re hiring in more than one state. That’s why SixFifty has created an Employment Docs platform to help businesses generate their own customized, state-specific employee handbooks.
Here’s what you should know about making your own Wisconsin employee handbook.
Required Wisconsin employee handbook policies
Wisconsin requires employers to implement and comply with ten state-specific policies::
- Civil Air Patrol Leave (for companies with 11 or more employees)
- Day of Rest Law (Workweek and Work Schedules Policy)
- Election Official Leave
- FMLA (for companies with 50 or more employees)
- Jury Duty Leave
- Meal and Rest Breaks (minors only)
- Organ and Bone Marrow Donor Leave (for companies with 50 or more employees)
- Volunteer Firefighter, Emergency Medical Services Practitioner, Emergency Medical Responder, or Ambulance Driver Leave
- Voting Leave
- Witness Duty Leave
Note that several of these policies have employee number or age thresholds. If your company is approaching these numbers or plans to hire minors, you may wish to include the applicable policies in order to avoid having to rewrite your handbook as your company grows.
Optional Wisconsin employee handbook policies
In addition to the ten state-specific required policies, employers in Wisconsin can also include optional policies like:
- 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: Paid Sick Leave; Parental Leave; Bereavement Leave; Domestic Violence Leave; Crime Victim 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
- 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 industry, company and employment type, and other considerations, you may not need to include all of these optional policies.
Required federal employee handbook policies
Finally, if you choose to create an employee handbook, you should include these 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
Because federal law supersedes state law, these policies remain the same in all 50 states. All of your employee handbooks, Wisconsin or otherwise, should contain these policies (assuming the organization meets the 50-employee requirement for FMLA). Note that Wisconsin has a state-specific FMLA policy, so it’s important that it comply with both federal or state standards.
How to create a Wisconsin employee handbook
Researching and drafting a Wisconsin handbook can be time-consuming and expensive, even if you’re only including the required federal and state policies. Plus, it’s risky: if you violate employment law, your company could be held legally liable for any issues which arise.
So how can you draft a compliant handbook? You could hire an attorney. This is a safe option, but if you plan to hire employees in more than one state, the billable hours can add up fast.
Some companies use one-size-fits-all templates, but that’s not advisable. There’s no guarantee that templates—or worse, copying from someone else’s handbook—will include all the required, state-specific policies and language you need to protect your employees and your business.
SixFifty understands the challenges involved in state-specific employment documents. Our Employment Docs platform is designed to be a better solution. Our platform supports employers through each stage of the employment life cycle, starting with offer letters and ending with termination and offboarding. We make it easy to generate top-tier employment documents, like Wisconsin employee handbooks, in a quick and cost-effective manner. Best of all, our legal team watches changes to employment law nationwide. If there are any updates, you’ll be notified so you can regenerate your handbooks as needed.
Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo today!