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Human Resources

Sample HR Policies

Sample HR Policies

Every business with employees should have written HR policies in an employee handbook that can be distributed either physically or electronically to employees. Although HR policies can differ depending on your business, state, and other factors, there are several policies that are common across employee handbooks.

The following are guidelines for sections you might want to have in your employee handbook. Be sure to consult an employment lawyer for specifics.

HR Policy Statement

This section should state the purpose of the employee handbook and contain a statement about employment-at-will (meaning that the employer or employee can terminate the employment relationship at will, at any time). However, be sure to understand the at-will limitations or exceptions in your state.

Company Overview

This section can give some background on your company: when it was founded, why it began, who your typical customers are, what products or services you provide them, and where you are located. It can also give some more context on the mission and vision of your company.

Probationary Period

If your company has a probationary period (intended to give new employees the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to achieve a satisfactory level of performance and to determine whether the new position meets their expectations), you can put some details about it in this section.

Performance Evaluations and Compensation

You can put some information about performance evaluations (how often they occur, what will be discussed, and other relevant pieces of information) and related compensation adjustments in this section.


Here, you can outline the benefits that all employees at your company receive. These would include state- or federal-mandated benefits (e.g. workers’ compensation) in addition to other benefits you offer, such as paid time off for vacation. Add details here so that your time-off policies are clearly understood (for example, if you have a formula for vacation time accrual, put it in this section). You can also list company holidays.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

Make sure you have a statement about offering equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment per the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.

Sick Leave

You can explain your sick leave policy in this section.


In this section, you can include a non-exhaustive list of unacceptable forms of behavior that would result in termination from your company. You can also reinforce the employment-at-will statement in this section and include some short details about the termination process (for example, employees receiving their final pay – be sure to consult with an employment lawyer to understand applicable laws in your state in regards to employment termination).

Alcohol & Drug Use Testing

Here, you can discuss your pre- and post-employment alcohol and drug screenings.

Use of Company Computers and Telephones

In this section, you may want to reinforce your employees’ responsibilities in safeguarding proprietary company information when using company telecommunications. You can also outline policies regarding the use of company computers: for example, not installing any illegal software onto company computers.


The protection of confidential business information and trade secrets is vital to the interests and the success of the company. This section can give examples of confidential information as it relates to your particular business, and explain that employees may be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement as a condition of employment.

The information included on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial, or any other sort of advice; nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information on this site may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate, in parts. It is the reader's responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations, and to make their own decisions about how to operate their business. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates, and their employees make no warranties about the information, no guarantee of results, and assume no liability in connection with the information provided.