Whether you’re hiring for the estate or searching for someone to help you in your day to day, an employee manual or handbook gives your private staff a detailed overview of your rules, policies, guidelines, or procedures. Your goal should be to set the right expectations and, at the same time, state all your legal obligations to them. Note, that an employee manual is not the same thing as an employment contract.
Having an employee handbook helps to facilitate smoother onboarding, making it easy to welcome new staff members to the team. Furthermore, a set of guidelines also clearly outlines your expectations as an employer or staff manager, who may have several individuals under their purview.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to craft an employee manual for the team managing your personal and household affairs.
Your values and mission statement explains, in simple terms, your purpose for hiring your employees. And in the wake of a pandemic, making sure that you are 100% aligned with your existing and potential staff is critical. What are you trying to achieve, and how can your private staff help?
You need to effectively communicate these expectations with your staff to really get the right message across. Ensure that they know why you are hiring them and what your objectives are as an individual, an employer, and a homeowner.
A short paragraph defining your personal business and expectations would suffice as a brief character reference, offering some insight into who you are as an employer. Be as specific as you can and write it concisely, so your employees know what you are trying to convey to them.
First and foremost, outline how your employees will be compensated, whether that’s a monthly wire or a weekly check. If you are offering other perks or incentives to your private staff, then this information should be clearly spelled out in your employee manual. You’ll want to include everything that covers employee benefits or rewards.
Clearly outline how much they are paid per hour and if they will be paid for overtime hours or when they work during holidays. Your private staff may also expect some benefits, so ensure that you outline this, in detail.
Benefits can include health insurance, parking spaces, sick leaves, 401k, dental benefits, meals, and beverages provided, lockers and personal storage areas, etc.
A code of conduct is a set of rules that tells your private staff how they should behave during work hours. You can include cellphone usage, dress code, smoking policy, etc.
For household rules, you can talk about who opens mails or accepts packages, how family members are addressed or contacted, rules of driving a family car, how guests are addressed and greeted, when to notify family members, or who to call for emergency issues.
For the code of conduct, your staff must understand it in its entirety. Be as detailed and as specific as possible.
Digital conduct is a set of rules that pertains to an employee’s behavior online. You need to be specific with what is allowed and what is not when it comes to social media or other online-related activities.
Are your employees allowed to talk about their work on their social media channels? What about taking photos in your homes or with family members? Are they allowed to go online during work hours? Can your employees talk about your business?
You need to be very specific about this and ensure that your employees understand these home security guidelines.
In case of an emergency, who does your staff need to contact? Are there any allergies that you or your family members or guests have that your staff needs to be aware of? Are there any restricted areas in your home? These are just a few considerations that need to be met in your employee handbook.
While this all depends on what role your staff is filling, it’s still important to have it as a reference. Here, you’ll want to get in as much detail as possible, from dietary restrictions and medication regimens to safety procedures both in-person and online. Write about any guidelines or considerations you’ll need your staff to know.
You should also point out where the first aid kits are and the location of the fire extinguisher.
In your employee handbook, talk about the specific duties that your private staff is required to do. You may want to have a digital calendar shared with your staff members so that you’re always aligned.
How many hours are they required to work? What time should they take breaks, and how many minutes? Do they get paid on sick leaves? What about their vacation leaves – how many days are you giving them annually. If you’re not sure about the minimum wage or how many PTO do you need to offer to your private staff, you can always speak with a professional for assistance.
The goal is—your employees must understand, without question, their duties and responsibilities and what’s expected of them.
Outline the reasons why your employees may be terminated at work. You can write about a list of violations that may warrant a termination. Also, include a plan or checklist about what a certain employee would do if they are terminated. Do they need to return their uniforms or devices that were provided to them?
You need to also talk about their final wage when they are terminated. Will they be paid in full? What about deductions? Speak with a professional to ensure that you’re doing the right thing.
Depending on the nature of work, you may ask your private staff to sign a non-disclosure agreement and how to deal with them.
When crafting your employee manual, make sure that you’re familiar with the applicable laws. For example, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you are required to pay the minimum wage to all employees, including compensation for their overtime hours when they work for more than 40 hours a week. Your employees should be paid for every hour over 40. Also, you need to know whether your state’s employment laws require you to pay for breaks or meal times of your employees. Consult a professional when there are unusual work circumstances.
For your taxes, it would depend on the total amount of wages that you pay to a certain employee on an annual basis. You must check your state regulations to determine whether you need to withhold state income tax or settle for disability, unemployment or worker’s compensation insurance. Find out if you need to pay social security and Medicare taxes or pay federal unemployment tax. You can always use a payroll service to make this effortless for you.
Your employee manual should be readable, clear, simple, yet concise. It has to be accessible to everyone. If possible, hire someone who can discuss your employee manual, in detail, with the new hires.
Ask each employee to sign their handbook to ensure that they have fully read and understood them.
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