We have all received an Employee Handbook after having
been hired for a job. Most of us receive it then proceed to stash
it away in our junk closet at home. It will most likely never see the
light of day again. Are we, however, dismissing a vital element of
our new job? We are. The following will list just a few golden
nuggets you may be overlooking by not reading the sacred text
between that binder.

Attendance Policy – Most employers outline a specific set of
guidelines regarding attendance expectations and absences
which may be excused by law. For example, did you know that
you are able to take excused Family Leave for a period of up to
12 weeks for any of the following reasons?

  • You recently gave birth to a child and need to take care of
    your child.
  • You have a new adopted or foster child.
  • You need to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with
    a serious health condition.
  • You have a serious health condition and need to take
    medical leave from work.
  • You have qualifying exigencies (things that must be taken
    care of urgently) because your spouse, son, daughter, or
    parent is on active duty or call to active-duty status as a
    member of the National Guard or Reserves in support of a
    military operation

You will most likely need to have vacation or sick time accrued if
you wish to continue getting paid during your absence, but you
are still not prevented from taking this time off. By law, your
position must be held for you upon your return.

Assistance Programs – Some employers offer emergency
financial assistance, health services, and even counseling
services. In most cases, employers outsource these programs
to organizations and facilities who offer their services for free or
at a major discount.

Believe it or not, your financial, mental, and physical well-being benefits
your company in the long run and certainly benefits you at every stage
of your life. Learn about these options and take advantage of them if you
need to.

Social Media Policy – We now live in a culture immersed in social media.
While employees have the right to express themselves as individuals,
your employment may have a policy against certain social media
practices. It is vitally important that you familiarize yourself with this policy
so that you are mindful against ever representing your company in a
negative light. While social media can be a fun outlet, it can lead to
unfavorable public reactions and a trip to the unemployment line.

Grievance Policy – Your company is determined to provide a productive
and safe environment for everyone. There may come a time when you
feel as though your productivity or safety is affected by other employees’
conduct or circumstances which you would like management to
address. Your Employee Handbook will outline exactly what you can do
in those instances. A good employer will respect your willingness to
report any negative aspects of your employment and is ready to address
and correct any issues which have caused you to feel less that
supported in the workplace.

Employee Reviews and Increases– Every employer who has taken the
time to put together an Employee Handbook will undoubtedly have a
structured pay scale and merit schedule. Knowing this will afford you an
opportunity to set professional goals for yourself and set a timeframe to
meet and exceed your employer’s expectations. This is a valuable road
map that will pave out a clear path for your professional and financial

Right about now, you should be digging up your dusty Employee
Handbook so you can begin prospecting.

Omar Tarango is a Blogger and Social Media Manager

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