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Employee Handbook

Last revision Last revision 09/04/2024
Formats FormatsWord and PDF
Size Size16 to 23 pages
Fill out the template

Last revisionLast revision: 09/04/2024

FormatsAvailable formats: Word and PDF

SizeSize: 16 to 23 pages

Fill out the template

What is an employee handbook?

An employee handbook also known as a staff manual outlines the rights and benefits of employees, the organization's culture and objectives, disciplinary measures and procedures for handling and resolving disputes, work policies, and employment policies. Hence, it is a compilation of all the information regarding an employer's policies and procedures.

The employee handbook is useful for both new and current employees as it informs them about the rules, regulations, and expectations of the organization regarding their employment and job performance.


What is the difference between an employee handbook and an employment agreement?

The employee handbook provides guidelines for employees, outlining the organization's policies, procedures, and expectations. It serves as a reference for employees to understand the company's rules, benefits, and general conduct expected within the workplace.

On the other hand, the Employment Contract is a legally binding contract between an employer and an individual employee. It specifies the terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, job responsibilities, work hours, duration of employment, and conditions for termination.

Hence, while the employment contract is specific to an individual employee, the employee handbook provides general guidelines for all employees and the employer.

Is it mandatory to have an employee handbook?

No, the employee handbook is not mandatory in Nigeria. However, employers should have an employee handbook as it provides employees with a clear understanding of their rights, responsibilities, and the employer's expectations.

What must an employee handbook contain?

The employee handbook usually contains information about the employer's work policies, including the following:

  • Mission, vision, and culture: This section highlights the core values, ethics, or principles governing the employer's organization.

  • Employee classification: This includes information relating to the types of employees within the organization, including fixed-term employees, permanent, full-time, and temporary employees. This section will also outline the work hours, and work structure for the various classes of employees in the organization.

  • Employment policies: It outlines various policies of the employer, including policies relating to equal employment opportunity for all employees regardless of their race, class, age, etc. It can also contain anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies prohibiting employees from harassing co-workers.

  • Work policies: This outlines details on attendance, punctuality, dress code, and general workplace conduct.

  • Compensation and benefits: General information on salary, bonuses, health benefits, retirement plans, and other benefits.

  • Leave policies: The employee handbook provides various types of leaves and guidelines on the various leave periods. Under the law, an employee who has worked for up to one year for a single employer is entitled to a paid vacation period or annual leave. Depending on the employer's policy, the employer may also be entitled to sick leave, maternity or paternity leave, and study leave. This section also outlines the duration and procedure for sending an application for receiving the leave.

  • Performance reviews: This specifies policies and procedures for assessing an employee's performance, including frequency and criteria for performance evaluations and procedures for providing and receiving performance feedback. It also outlines procedures for addressing employee misconduct and the disciplinary actions that may follow.

  • Disciplinary measures: This outlines steps to be taken in case of misconduct, including warnings, suspensions, and terminations. This also includes procedures for addressing misconduct and disciplinary actions.

  • Health and safety: This outlines procedures for maintaining a safe workplace, for example, emergency protocols, procedures for handling infectious diseases, etc.

  • Termination: This includes the procedure for which the employer can terminate the employee's contract. Under the law, an employer can terminate with cause (for the employee's fault) or terminate without cause or no reason at all. Notwithstanding, the employee handbook specifies the notice period. It also outlines the procedures for which an employee can resign from their position.

What is not allowed in the employee handbook?

Employers are prohibited from implementing a policy that denies female workers paid maternity leave, as this is a mandatory provision.

Similarly, employers cannot implement a policy that allows them to terminate their employees without providing proper notice or salary instead of notice.

When terminating or dismissing an employee from work, employers are required by law to either provide adequate notice or salary in lieu of notice. The notice period is often determined by the employment contract. However, many organizations prefer one-month notice. On the other hand, employers can provide an advance salary in place of notice. When this is done, there is no need for notice.

Who are the parties involved in an employee handbook?

The main parties involved in an employee handbook are the employer and the employees.

The employer is an individual, company, or other registered organization that employs individuals to do work for wages or salary and will be implementing the employee handbook.

The employee is an individual who is employed by the employer and is required to comply with the policies and procedures outlined in the employee handbook.

What is the duration of an employee handbook?

An employee handbook does not have a fixed duration. It remains in effect until it is revised or replaced.

Organizations usually review and update the handbook to reflect changes in laws and company policies. After this, employers notify their employees about recent changes in the employee handbook.

What should be done once the employee handbook is ready?

After the employee handbook is ready the employer should provide copies to all employees, either in print or electronically. In the same vein, employees can provide a link where employees can have access to the employee handbook electronically.

After this, the employees should sign an acknowledgment form confirming they have received, read, and understood the contents of the employee handbook. Employees can keep a copy of the employee handbook for their records or at least have access to the employee handbook (either electronically or in print) for reference purposes.

Note: When hiring a new employee, the employee handbook should be given to the new employee together with the Employment Offer Letter and/or the Employment Contract.

Which documents should be attached to the employee handbook?

Other policy documents that can be attached to the employee handbook for the employee's reference are as follows:

Is it necessary to notarize an employee handbook for it to be valid?

No, it is not necessary for employee handbooks to be notarized in Nigeria.

Is it necessary to register the employee handbook?

No, employee handbooks are not registered in Nigeria.

Is it necessary to have witnesses for the employee handbook?

No, it is not necessary to have witnesses for employee handbooks.

What are the costs involved in the finalization of the employee handbook?

There are no costs involved in finalizing an employee handbook.

Which laws apply to an employee handbook?

The Nigerian Labour Act 2004 is the primary legislation that regulates employment matters in Nigeria. Other laws that apply to the employee handbook are as follows:

  • the Employee Compensation Act 2010, regulates the compensation of employees who suffer any disease or injuries arising from accidents in their workplace;

  • the Pension Reform Act 2014, mandates all employers in the private sector with 15 or more employees, to make contributions (of at least 8% of the employee's salary) to the pension scheme for the payment of their employees' retirement benefits;

  • the Personal Income Tax Act 2004, regulates the taxation of employees' remuneration;

  • the Immigration Act 2015, regulates the employment of foreign employees;

  • the National Health Insurance Scheme 2004, regulates the national health insurance scheme;

  • the Trade Union Act 2004, regulates the formation and activities of trade unions;

  • the HIV and AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014, prohibits the discrimination of employees based on their HIV/AIDS status; and

  • the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), prohibits any form of discrimination against persons.

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