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This employee manual generator will walk you through the steps to develop an effective and legally sound employee manual for your farm. To start, scroll to the bottom of this page, click “Begin Manual,” and follow the prompts to draft your manual, referring to the guidance provided for each section on content, sample language, and/or relevant legal considerations. Note that this guidance is designed to help you follow best practices and applicable laws, but it is not a legal document and is not exhaustive. Please email Kristen Wilmer if you have any questions or would like additional help completing your farm’s employee manual.
An employee manual that is legally sound and consistently followed can provide a solid foundation for good employee-employer communication, in addition to clarifying managers’ and workers’ responsibilities to one another. Communicating clear expectations to your employees can lead to better work performance. Providing your employees with clear methods for raising and resolving workplace issues can also lead to more effective communication, with greater trust and mutual respect.
An employee manual can be legally protective as well – Massachusetts and federal law require that some policies be provided to employees in writing, and it is often easiest to put legally required notifications in one spot. In addition, employee manuals can help ensure consistent employee treatment, avoiding real or perceived discrimination.
It is important to note, however, that having an employee manual that lays out policies that are not actually followed can be worse than having no employee manual at all. It is often counterproductive, as well as legally risky, to develop an employee manual that doesn’t reflect actual farm practices, or that has policies that are not consistently modeled and/or enforced by the managers on the farm.
A good employee manual which avoids these pitfalls and takes into account the best practices and legal considerations outlined in this employee manual generator can be an excellent starting point in ensuring a legal, ethical, and productive work environment at your farm.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number ONE18-311-32231.