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The importance of a well-drafted employee manual

When Michigan residents have questions about how to get a job done right, it is important that they have a proper place to go to find the answers they need. The same is true when it comes to employees, as the employees need to have the right resources put in place by their employers to get their jobs done right.

In order to provide these answers to their employees, many employers choose to draft employee policy manuals. The employee handbook can not only contain job descriptions and duties, but a host of other provisions governing the employees' conduct and responsibilities.

For example, the employee manual might establish certain ethical standards that must be followed by employees. The manual may also contain policies on tardiness, vacation time, drug use, employee benefits, sick leave and other important employment law issues. The policy might contain specific procedures on taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, for example, such as what requirements the employee must follow to properly notify the employer of a leave request.

Recent employee manuals may also contain policies on acceptable computer or social media use while at work. The manual may be updated to reflect the changes in law, and in technology, that occur on a regular basis.

Care should be taken to avoid having the employee manual serve as an employment contract if this is not intended by the employer. Likewise, the employer needs to have a carefully drafted manual that will not impose additional obligations on the employer that were not intended. The bottom line is that the employee manual can be an effective tool for employers to communicate important policies to employees and establish certain guidelines, but it must be well drafted to ensure the employer is not exposing itself to unnecessary liability.

Source:, "Guide to Starting and Operating a Small Business," accessed on Jan. 23, 2016

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