The Need for a Temp Employee Handbook | DCR Workforce Blog

The Need for a Temp Employee Handbook

When Jerry Maguire (or Tom Cruise) sees what he perceives as dishonesty in Sports Management – he suffers a nervous breakdown from a guilty conscience and prepares a mission statement laying out his vision for operating things differently and promptly loses his job. But the same statement earns him a loyal admirer who becomes his first employee and throws her lot in with him though he is on extremely shaky ground, both professionally and financially.  All employee handbooks may not be such compendiums of personal angst or faith. Essentially all work places need such articulation of policies and rules by which the workplace activities need to be conducted.

Somewhat like Jerry’s Mission Statement, having an Employee Handbook for Temporary Employees helps to provide clarity on the policies governing the workplace activities and the relationship between the staffing company and the temporary employee. It lays out a clear-cut and unambiguous description of the mutual expectations between the two. It also creates a contractual obligation and legal liabilities – so it is very important to avoid making any erroneous statement, however inadvertent. All the policies are clearly communicated to the employee without any misinterpretation or miscommunication – due to a possible lapse of memory on the part of the recruiter or HR person. With this sharing of policies, against a written acknowledgement from the temporary employee, the employer can find protection from subsequent acts of commission or omission on both sides.

Points to Ponder:

There are a few questions which an employer could pose to oneself to ensure that they have a functional and effective employee handbook in place:

  1. Does the company have an existing employee handbook?
  2. If so, is it complete or incomplete and out-of-date?
  3. Is there a company policy in place to ensure the transfer of all policy changes to the handbook and a person made responsible for the transfer?
  4. Is it still being distributed in its half-baked, incomplete form?

While Question 1 & 2 are more or less rhetorical (aimed at eliciting some action out of those who do not have any hand book in place – whether half-baked or just initiated). Unless you answer with a Yes to Q.3 and an equally emphatic No to 4, consider yourself on the verge of some serious trouble and potentially in need of serious help – at some date in the near future.

Some imperatives:

A proper handbook helps save time and effort in explaining the various rules and policies governing employees. Having and advertizing a uniform policy protects an employer against claims of discrimination. It is a good idea to provide each employee with a personal copy of the handbook, issued against a signed acknowledgement. If the business has special issues and conditions impacting the work environment, these may also be covered with adequate legal guidance.

  • The language must be lucid and easy to understand or interpret with an emphasis on employees’ acceptance of all the tenets through their acknowledgement of the copy received.
  •  The book must be customized to one’s own business needs, not copied from some free template download.
  •  Discuss pay rates, pay day and holiday pay, contingent stop-payment of pay check
  • Lay out the instructions for time sheets and overtime issues, meal and rest breaks, absence and tardiness
  • Description of all benefits offered and unemployment insurance and injury on job site/worker’s compensation insurance
  • Issue escalation procedures – with the names or designations of persons responsible to resolve the issues – for any event at employer or client site.
  •  The limitations on employee actions on site need to be expounded with standards of performance and (own or client) workplace rules on various aspects like the use of office equipment, cash, telephones. Smart phones, alcohol, drugs and violations of rules related to IT security, Internet usage, personal emails & emergencies, if any and everything and anything which an employee is entitled to control, on and off the premises (as in non-compete, conflict of interest and non-solicitation) and work hours – laying out the liability.
  •  Safety plan issues must be shared along with policies on dress code, gossip, business ethics and conduct.
  •  Clear-cut enunciation of liability for revealing/violating any of the company’s/client’s trade secrets and confidential company secrets and other intellectual property rights.
  •  The employees contact details and phone numbers must be recorded and stored appropriately.

Some handbooks contain the existing federal, state and local policies as appendices. Once again, it must be re-iterated that it is better not to have a handbook – if it is not updated, correct and complete.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.