Simple Tips for Ministry Employee Handbooks
Learn how to create and maintain your ministry employee handbook.
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Every ministry, no matter how small, could benefit from maintaining an employee handbook. A proper handbook defines what you expect from employees and what they can expect from you. By following a few simple tips, your ministry handbook can provide valuable legal protection if your policies are challenged in court.

Getting Started

  • Consult an attorney. Your policies and procedures may be subject to federal, state, and local laws. Have an attorney review your handbook before it is distributed to employees.
  • Keep it simple. Information should be concise and straightforward. An employee handbook is not an employment contract and it shouldn't read like one.
  • Understand what is required. Certain information—like equal employment opportunity and harassment policies—should be a part of every employee handbook.
  • Answer common questions. Think of your handbook as an additional HR staff member. Consider the most commonly asked questions of HR and include the information in the handbook.

Ongoing Efforts

  • Review the handbook regularly. You can never be finished with your employee handbook. Laws and interpretations of them can change over time. Establish a schedule for reviewing your policies and procedures.
  • Communicate policy changes. When policies do change, have a formal plan for making sure employees are aware of the changes.
  • Document acknowledgement. Maintain written or electronic acknowledgement that employees have received and read the handbook. There will be no question that an employee is aware of a policy, if you have proof to back it up.
Posted: April 20, 2009

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