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View Full Version : Im creating a employee handbook?


94gt331
12-14-2011, 09:51 PM
Well after being in buisiness for 7 years now and have seen many angles of this buisiness i decideded to focus on running my buisiness aliitle more like a buisiness. I realized after builing my equiptment and client list i think my main area of buisiness and life to focus on is employees. After having friends work 4 me for the last 7 years and being to laid back with them i realized im hurting myself in this area. So this month I'm going to create an employee handbook to structure a good and productive work environment. After the past years i know what i need to expect from my guys and i need to enforce policies to keep my buisiness running smoothly. My question is what should i put in the book and what order. If anyone has suggestions that woul be great help. Most thing i will cover in the book is Starting times, ending times, requesting times off, random drug and background testing, job expectations, quality of work, pay rates, uniforms, work ethics, attitudes, write ups etc. anything you guys could add would be great.:usflag:

T Scapes
12-14-2011, 09:58 PM
talking on cell phones smoking like where at on jobsites if you do hardscaping or are on a all day mowing job and smoking in trucks if they have to bring their lunch or if they can go out, and something about accountability

94gt331
12-14-2011, 10:09 PM
All yeah forgot about that great point. Yeah im going to enforce a cellphone and texting rule that the phones cant be on the jobsite. thanks

grass-scapes
12-16-2011, 06:12 PM
Report all accidents and incidents immediately. No smoking on jobsites. NO cellphone while working and absolutely NO texting and driving. Seatbelts in vehicles. Safety equipment. Payday. Start time. Call in sick procedures. use of company property. soliciting business while working. Tardiness/sick days. procedures when they break a policy...What it will lead to...Lots to think about.

I could go on and on.

One thing....the most important. Get a written and signed paper from the employee that he received a copy of the manual. That way, when a policy is broken and he is terminated, when he files for unemployment and claims he didn't know about the policy....whip out the signature sheet.

Groomer
12-16-2011, 10:20 PM
always use spellchek.

ralph02813
12-17-2011, 10:30 AM
Just a note, an employee handbook can be a double edge sword so a word of caution. Check out the SBA web site, they have some samples, also check with your State Department of Labor and Training to make sure you don't put anything in there that is illegal.
Check this out:
http://www.sba.gov/content/employee-handbooks
it is a step by step guide

4 seasons lawn&land
12-17-2011, 11:13 AM
just curious, how do you not discriminate against people with disabilities in this business? That link stated the law of discrimination against people with disabilities act.

ralph02813
12-17-2011, 11:31 AM
just curious, how do you not discriminate against people with disabilities in this business? That link stated the law of discrimination against people with disabilities act.

You don't, but they have to be able to do the job! Check your state dept of labor, I am sure they can provide you with guide lines for job descriptions, I think that is the key - but think of it this way what if you had a job that required a guy/gal to ride on lawn mower all day and you had a vet who had been a helicopter pilot who loves the outdoors but cannot walk I suspect he/she might be a good find. If all you got is walk behinds, it might be a very different story. I also think very small companies are protected under the law as to what they do and don't have to do.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
12-17-2011, 12:33 PM
Just a note, an employee handbook can be a double edge sword so a word of caution. Check out the SBA web site, they have some samples, also check with your State Department of Labor and Training to make sure you don't put anything in there that is illegal.
Check this out:
http://www.sba.gov/content/employee-handbooks
it is a step by step guide

The way I understand a handbook to be, a legal document signed by both parties, you can actually do things that are against laws. No, you can't hire someone to murder or rob a bank! However, you can agree to working without breaks or a lunch stoppage. You can ,theoretically, take away some constitutional rights by telling them where they can't work if they leave your employment.I agree with checking with government agencies for info, but not sure I trust all the information given or my ability to legally understand it. I'm thinking a conversation with a lawyer who specializes in labor law would be worth the money spent.

meets1
12-17-2011, 02:08 PM
Any of you guys have samples handbooks your willing to share?

jsslawncare
12-17-2011, 02:22 PM
1. Show up on time.
2. The boss is always right.
3. Do as I say not, as I do.
4. And many more as I think of them.

ralph02813
12-17-2011, 03:06 PM
The way I understand a handbook to be, a legal document signed by both parties, you can actually do things that are against laws. No, you can't hire someone to murder or rob a bank! However, you can agree to working without breaks or a lunch stoppage. You can ,theoretically, take away some constitutional rights by telling them where they can't work if they leave your employment.I agree with checking with government agencies for info, but not sure I trust all the information given or my ability to legally understand it. I'm thinking a conversation with a lawyer who specializes in labor law would be worth the money spent.

Careful Keystone, you cannot make someone work past 6 hours with out a break, it is the employers responsibility in RI to make sure this doesn't happen for example, Sundays in RI require overtime unless you are on salary. You cannot tell someone they cannot work in the same industry when they leave you if you have a not put a non compete clause that is signed by both parties in a contractual form and that it can be proved that they will be in a position to use proprietary company information. Non compete clauses are generally for same position same duties.
Generally, each page of a legal document has to be signed by both parties to be valid.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
12-17-2011, 04:34 PM
Careful Keystone, you cannot make someone work past 6 hours with out a break, it is the employers responsibility in RI to make sure this doesn't happen for example, Sundays in RI require overtime unless you are on salary. You cannot tell someone they cannot work in the same industry when they leave you if you have a not put a non compete clause that is signed by both parties in a contractual form and that it can be proved that they will be in a position to use proprietary company information. Non compete clauses are generally for same position same duties.
Generally, each page of a legal document has to be signed by both parties to be valid.

I worked for a fairly large company where you did not get any breaks. The handbook stated that you worked 8 hours with no stoppage for lunch or breaks. Those rules were agreed to by the company and employees long before I came along. All new hires received a handbook and signed acceptance of the rules etc. that made it a legal agreement between you and the company. You can put the nocompete clause there and if you sign it is legal. Most companies with nocompete rules make it a separate form to avoid confusion. I was once at a seminar for business and one of the speakers was a lawyer who specialized in labor laws. He basically said an employer and employee who come to an agreement about anything, then put it in writing and sign, have made a legal contract and in those you can agree to things that may not be legal without that contract. For example the lunch and break rules where I worked before and the no smoking rules(some even while not working) companies have now . That being said, I'd still get the advice from a lawyer when establishing an employee handbook.....As for each page of a legal document needing a signature to be legal, I've signed many contracts and other legal documents only on the final page and they were as legal as any other. In many instances a party will have you initial or sign individual pages just to protect them in case of confusion or violation of contract which leads to legal action. This is a great topic, looking forward to others input to further the discussion.

ralph02813
12-17-2011, 07:36 PM
Keystone, a couple of notes if you own a company in RI it doesn't matter what you come up with and what you or the employee sign it is the law that you are required to get 1/2 lunch every 6 hours, if the employee doesn't get one and reports you, you pay a fine. I worked for the seafood industry for almost 30 non compete contracts had to be very specific, I saw a lot of them not hold up in court. An illegal activity, ie one that breaks the labor laws cannot be put into a binding contract. I also think, if you are paying someone 10-15 bucks an hour a judge would laugh at you.
If you don't have signatures on each page of a multipage contract then either party could argue that they never saw a certain clause and therefore did not sign it. You might get by that if you have a legal non affilated witness, a notary public.

I have see law firms with years of experience get blown out of the water by a young maritime lawyer, I think that is why lawyers really specialize employment contracts are a very different animal then say a service contract you might have a customer sign.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
12-17-2011, 09:12 PM
Rhode Island and 19 other states have meal break laws that supersede Fed Dept of Labor laws. I bet each state has something that supersedes Fed laws. That's why I suggest using a lawyer, in your state, that specializes in labor law to write the handbook....Again, as for the signing every page of a contract/legal document. I have a few court recorded legal documents, that were negotiated with lawyers, that are only signed on the last page. Like I said before, some legal documents and contracts get signed or initialed for the same reason you stated, to avoid future issues if something goes wrong. IMO, when creating something as important as a employee handbook, spend the money on a lawyer.

ed2hess
12-17-2011, 10:25 PM
MO, when creating something as important as a employee handbook, spend the money on a lawyer.

The discussion on this topic is just unbelievable what nonsense....this is why nobody creates a business up north anymore. Texas Handbook...show up on time every day and work constantly until we finish. No breaks no overtime no excuses.

DuallyVette
12-17-2011, 11:45 PM
A young man that I talked to, said that he worked for a lawn maintenance company. He had to show up for work at 6:30am, but he didn't get paid until they arrived at the 1st job. A large LCO got in big trouble with the department of labor for this 20 years ago. I'm amazed anyone would do this today.

DuallyVette
12-17-2011, 11:50 PM
Employee Handbook: CLEAN uniform everyday (with a fresh shower- soap must be used). No stylish DRAGGING pants. Safety glasses & ear protection if your within 150 feet of anyone operating power equipment.

ralph02813
12-18-2011, 06:38 AM
Rhode Island and 19 other states have meal break laws that supersede Fed Dept of Labor laws. I bet each state has something that supersedes Fed laws. That's why I suggest using a lawyer, in your state, that specializes in labor law to write the handbook....Again, as for the signing every page of a contract/legal document. I have a few court recorded legal documents, that were negotiated with lawyers, that are only signed on the last page. Like I said before, some legal documents and contracts get signed or initialed for the same reason you stated, to avoid future issues if something goes wrong. IMO, when creating something as important as a employee handbook, spend the money on a lawyer.

I couldn't agree more, that is why in my original post I stated that they where a double edge sword.