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Employee Handbook

Last revision Last revision 21/04/2024
Formats FormatsWord and PDF
Size Size24 to 36 pages
Fill out the template

Last revisionLast revision: 21/04/2024

FormatsAvailable formats: Word and PDF

SizeSize: 24 to 36 pages

Fill out the template

What is an Employee Handbook?

An employee handbook is a document established by the company that describes the rules, practices and procedures for the company's employees. In an employee handbook, the company informs employees of the standards that are expected of them. Generally the company also discloses important information such as benefits, leave, etc.

Employers list all of their requirements and policies, and employees only need to review and sign the handbook to acknowledge that they have received and read it.

What is the difference between an Employee Handbook and a workplace policy?

An employee handbook is a broad, comprehensive version of an employment policy, usually containing various policies within the handbook written in an overview-based manner. On the other hand, employment policies are narrow and more focused on specific issues. Employment policies are more detailed and apply to particular scenarios. For example, although the employee handbook may reference a social media policy prohibiting personal device use during business hours, the social media policy may specifically indicate what apps cannot be used.

What is the difference between an Employee Handbook and an employment agreement?

An employee handbook is different from an employment contract. An employment contract is a specific contract used for one person and the company. Employment contracts are also generally more specific than handbooks regarding the actual conditions of employment. Furthermore, certain terms must be directly included in a contract.

Is it mandatory to have an Employee Handbook?

No. Having an Employee Handbook is not necessary. However, it is a useful tool that allows employees to easily access rules and procedures of the employer. The handbook may also be useful in the event of a lawsuit.

What must an Employee Handbook contain?

An Employee Handbook will vary from organization-to-organization. However, they generally contain a welcome paragraph, a code of conduct, an equal opportunity statement, employment policies such as a social media policy or a dress code policy, permitted leaves of absence, performance evaluations, and more.

When this document is completed, it must be kept in the company's files or network. Then, each time an employee starts working for the company, he or she must receive a copy of the handbook and sign the acknowledgement page. The company must keep a copy of the signed acknowledgement page and the employee must keep the complete handbook.

The end of the acknowledgement states that a breach of the policies may lead to termination.

What is not allowed in an Employee Handbook?

An Employee Handbook cannot contain anything that is illegal, or promote any illegal conduct, including theft, bribery, and more. The handbook also cannot restrict an employee's rights or invade their privacy.

What has to be done once an Employee Handbook is ready?

Once an employee handbook is ready, it must be given and signed by the employees, which can be done electronically via email. The employer may wish to implement workshops or training courses on key elements of the handbook, including the policies, to ensure employees have an understanding of the document. The handbook needs to be regularly updated to reflect current laws and regulations, and it must be kept in an accessible area for employees.

What is the duration of an Employee Handbook?

The Employee Handbook has an indefinite duration and may evolve over time as laws and business practices change.

Which laws are applicable to an Employee Handbook?

Employment standards in each province and territory cover the different elements of the employment relationship. The pieces of legislation outlining the minimum statutory requirements of employers are the following:

  • Ontario: Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41
  • Alberta: Employment Standards Code, RSA 2000, c E-9
  • British Columbia: Employment Standards Act, RSBC 1996, c 113
  • Saskatchewan: The Saskatchewan Employment Act, SS 2013, c S-15.1
  • Manitoba: The Employment Standards Code, CCSM c E110
  • Quebec: Act respecting labour standards, CQLR c N-1.1
  • New Brunswick: Employment Standards Act, SNB 1982, c E-7.2
  • Nova Scotia: Labour Standards Code, RSNS 1989, c 246
  • Prince Edward Island: Employment Standards Act, RSPEI 1988, c E-6.2
  • Northwest Territories: Employment Standards Act, SNWT 2007, c 13
  • Nunavut: Labour Standards Act, RSNWT (Nu) 1988, c L-1
  • Yukon: Employment Standards Act, RSY 2002, c 72
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Labour Standards Act, RSNL 1990, c L-2
  • Canada: Canada Labour Code, RSC 1985, c L-2

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