Every company should have a written policy and procedure for all tasks to be accomplished, as well as guidelines for new employees to review at the time of their employment.

There are many ways to prepare a policy manual, but most include the most basic information, such as starting and ending time, breaks, lunch, paid and unpaid holidays, vacations and eligibility, benefits and eligibility, pay periods, advances, use of company property for personal use, grounds for termination, etc. Policies should be established regarding infraction of rules and the possible consequences, including reasons for termination, written and oral warnings, etc.

A table of contents for a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) office policy manual could include the following topics:

Company Benefits:

Medical Coverage
Personal Days
Sick Days
Paid Holidays
Bonus/Longevity Bonus
Benefits in General
Late Arrival/Early Departure

Business Conduct:

Business Conduct in General
Copy, Postage and UPS Services for Personal Use
Equipment and Furniture
Mailing Address
Telephone Calls
Letters of Recommendation
Food and Drink on Premises

Court Appearance:

Verification of Appearances
Jury Duty
Acting as a Witness

Daily Schedule:

Lunch/Coffee Breaks
Employee Production
Dress Code

Grounds for Immediate Dismissal:

Drug/Substance Abuse
Discussion of Salaries
Probationary Period


Fair Labor Law Act
Part-Time Employees

Performance Reviews.


Dismissal Procedure

Hiring Policy:

Hiring Agency Personnel


Ordering Supplies
Answering Machine
Air Conditioning
Bathroom Supplies
General Purchases

Employment Agreement:
This is recommended to be included. It would state that the employee has read and fully understands the contents of the manual and that they agree to comply with all safety policies and procedures.

This is a basic statement indicating that the provisions included in the manual are subject to change and that revised copies will be distributed to all employees for review. It further states that receipt of the policy manual is not a contract for employment.

Noncompliance Forms:
These are forms designed to document written warnings for infractions of rules. Each company should have its own procedure established for hiring new employees, including commercially available application forms or those designed specifically for your organization.

You may wish to consider preparing a new employee checklist, which would document that the new employee has been properly introduced to co-workers, toured the new offices, understands and agrees with the contents of the policy manual, received training and other direction in his/her area of hire, etc. An employee termination and exit survey checklist can offer insights that you may not be aware of.

There are commercially available forms and workbooks that can help you organize your firm’s procedure better. You can purchase them at discount office supply stores or by catalog. It’s often cost-effective to research these items and determine their necessity. Occasionally, your local library and the Internet can offer help in this task. In cards, nothing beats four aces; in business, nothing beats having it in writing!

NOTE: For other closely related topics, be sure to review the section on Hiring and Firing (#81), to be published later in this series of articles on Labor Management.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to

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