The following information is a Web Extra from the pages of Top Producer. It corresponds with the article "Employee Handbook Essentials." You can find the article in Top Producer’s March 2013 issue.
Identify areas of your business that need SOPs by downloading a worksheet provided by Dick Wittman:
Iowa State University
This is a resource of resources. Iowa State University Extension through its Ag Decision Maker program has compiled a checklist for agricultural employers to use as a guide.
Employers, farms and agribusinesses alike, are concerned about competition. An Employment Nondisclosure Agreement is used to provide trade secret protection over a new employee of a company. The agreement basically spells out for the employee the definition of the particular trade secrets that are covered, defines "prohibited person" to whom secrets may not be divulged and provides for other miscellaneous matters.
University of Missouri
Specialists at the University of Missouri created an employee handbook to help producers develop their own. It was compiled using other employee handbooks and can be modified based on your farm business.
U.S. Department of Labor
As an employer, you’ll need to comply with federal and state employment laws. The U.S. Department of Labor has information for employers about federal laws that impact workplace issues.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Working on behalf of small businesses around the country, SBA provides a guide to help you develop a well-written employee handbook that sets forth your expectations to employees and describes to them what they can expect from you.
The content of employee handbooks varies from business to business. Below is a sample outline. You can pull from and use it as a guide to help you get started. Not everything will be a perfect fit for your operation, but it should give you some ideas and, at the very least, a starting point.
I. Welcome Message to New Employees and Recognition of Current Employees
A. Mission Statement
B. Equal Opportunity Statement
C. Contractual Disclaimer an At-Will Statement
D. Purpose of the Employee Handbook
E. Background Information about the Farm
II. Policies and Procedures
A. Americans with Disabilities Act
B. Personal Safety
C. Sexual Harassment
D. Drug and Alcohol
F. Hours of Work
G. Meal and Rest Periods
J. Personnel Records
L. Payroll Deductions
M. Performance Reviews
O. Termination: Reduction in Force, Layoff/Recall
B. Vacation/Sick Leave
C. Disability Leave
D. Personal Leave
E. Bereavement Leave
F. Family and Medical Leave
G. Health Insurance
H. Life Insurance
I. Pension Plans
J. Call-In/Report in Pay
L. Educational Assistance Program
M. Worker’s Compensation
N. Unemployment Insurance
IV. Employee and Employer Responsibility for Safety
A. Commitment of the Company
B. Emergency Procedures
C. Medical Services
D. Personal Protective Equipment
E. OSHA Requirements: Safety Rules, Reporting Accidents
A. Standards of Conduct
B. Progressive Discipline
C. Exit Process
VI. Summary and Acknowledgement
A. The importance of policies and procedures
B. Acknowledgement of receipt
C. Additional disclaimer that the employer has the right to change the rules without notice and the fact that employment is at-will and that the handbook does not create a contract.