30 Essential Policies Every Employee Handbook Must Contain

Employee Handbook


Strengthening the fabric of your organization through enhanced rules and regulations, an employee handbook can be your greatest ally. However, the power of this resource depends solely on its content. Having a comprehensive list of policies that reflect the vision and conduct of your business can seem daunting at first. It’s crucial to address essential legal elements and craft a clear picture of your organizational culture.

Here are 30 crucial policies that you should consider incorporating:

Employment Policies (1-10)

  1. Equal Opportunity Employment – Affirm your commitment to providing equal opportunities regardless of race, sexuality, age, or disability.
  2. Anti-Harassment & Anti-Violence – Outline your policy against any form of harassment or violence within the workplace.
  3. Employment Classification – Differentiate between employment types – full-time, part-time, contractor, and temporary status to avoid confusion.
  4. Recruitment & Selection – State your policy on recruitment, ensuring it is aligned with the ethos of meritocracy.
  5. Employee Referrals – Explain the procedure and incentives for any staff that refer potential candidates to the company.
  6. Employee Background Check – Describe your policy on performing background checks on potential candidates.
  7. Job Posting, Transfers & Promotions – Define how in-house job postings, transfers, and promotions work.
  8. Relocation Assistance – If your company compensates employees for costlier moves, spell it out here.
  9. Employee Orientation & Onboarding – Upon joining, list out what staff can expect as part of orientation.
  10. Probationary Periods – Clearly specify any initial trial periods for new hires.

Compensation and Benefits (11-20)

  1. Wages & Salaries – Show transparency about the pay structure, including raises and bonus structures.
  2. Overtime Compensation – Spell out when and how much employees can expect to get paid for overtime.
  3. Employee Benefits Overview – Summarize the benefits your company offers, including health, retirement, and time off.
  4. Paid Time Off (PTO) – Outline the allowances for PTO including sick leave, vacation days, holidays, and personal days.
  5. Health & Wellness – Reinforce your focus on employee health by detailing wellness programs and initiatives.
  6. Retirement Plan – Detail the retirement plans available to employees and how eligibility works.
  7. Educational Assistance – Explain whether your company provides tuition assistance or similar benefits.
  8. Staff Assistance Programs (EAPs) – Highlight any programs in place to offer support to employees undergoing personal issues.
  9. Travel & Expense Policy – Specify what business expenses are covered and reimbursed.
  10. Worker’s Compensation – Explain what happens if an employee is injured at work.

Behavior and Conduct (21-30)

  1. Professional Conduct – Define expectations for behavior at work, including dress code, punctuality, and workspace maintenance.
  2. Internet & Email Use – State your policy on acceptable use of the internet, social media, and email during work hours.
  3. Privacy & Data Protection – Cover your commitment to protecting personal and company data.
  4. Drug & Alcohol Abuse – Set out your stance on substance misuse in the company.
  5. Disciplinary Actions – Describe the process and consequences for breaches in company policies.
  6. Grievance Procedure – Offer a clear path for employees to raise concerns or complaints.
  7. Performance Review & Development Plan – Explain the process for reviews and how career progression works.
  8. Conflict of Interest – Discuss how to avoid situations that could compromise impartiality or business integrity.
  9. Termination Policy – Clearly state the procedure followed in case an employee-employer relationship must end.
  10. Workplace Safety & Emergency Procedures – Ensure that employees understand emergency protocols and safety standards.


These 30 policies help strike a vital balance between staff independence and company governance, weaving the intricate manual that aids in smooth operation while fostering a healthy work environment. Each item strengthens the bridge of understanding between the company and its employees, fostering a collaborative and efficient atmosphere that can only drive your business forward.

Remember, your business’s handbook is not a static element. It should evolve with changing times, laws, and company cultures. By ensuring these policies are present in your handbook, you demonstrate dedication to maintaining an environment of trust, growth, and productivity.

Note: This is a broad overview and not legal or professional advice. For any changes in your company policies, please consult with a legal or HR professional.


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Ciera is a born-and-raised Duluthian who recently graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. When she isn’t designing the Salmela website or sending emails, she doubles as an actress! With over 15 years of acting experience, Ciera brings her creative artistry and understanding of people to her work at Salmela.

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Cory spends his day advising senior leaders on talent acquisition strategy. He is happiest on his bike, skis, or helping his daughters rehearse lines. He began his career as a National Team Coach for the U.S. Ski Biathlon Team, followed by experience in pharma sales. In 2005, he founded Salmela. Today, Salmela places leaders across the healthcare industry. Salmela is the go-to vendor across marcomm disciplines in healthcare and beyond.

Chief Financial Officer, Olympian, and Health Coach, what can’t she do? When Kara is not managing the Salmela Financials, she spends her days educating and supporting people as a health coach. If that wasn’t cool enough, she also competed as an American biathlete at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.

Megan focuses on individual career wellness and team development for the healthcare advertising industry. As a natural networker, and with a career background in health/wellness and international corporate project management, Megan has the experience necessary to understand your needs. She enjoys being outside with her family, volunteering in the community, trail running and practicing yoga.

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