You know an employee handbook is a necessity, but did you know that handbooks look different depending on the company’s location? The state of Massachusetts requires some specific components, as well a few items that, while not required, you would be wise to include. Here’s what you need to know when creating or updating a Massachusetts employee handbook for your business or nonprofit.

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3 Components Required For A Massachusetts Employee Handbook

1. A definition of the legal relationship between the Massachusetts employer and employee, and a legal notice and disclaimer.

Do this in as much detail as necessary (a.k.a., don’t skip over parts simply because you feel it’s getting too long). While we never want to think about facing a lawsuit, it’s crucial for employers to include this section. If it were to come to a point of litigation, an employee acknowledgement of a handbook is actually very important.

2. All Massachusetts-specific policies regarding leaves of absence

Your leave entitlements should be explicit regarding employee eligibility, and listed as policies in your handbook (for example, “Sick leave policy,” “Parental leave policy,” etc.) These state-specific policies include the following:

  • Massachusetts PFML
  • Massachusetts PLA
  • Massachusetts sick leave
  • Massachusetts emergency paid sick leave (legislation passed due to COVID-19)

3. All Massachusetts-specific job protection policies

This section should not only list these policies and define them, but also define eligibility requirements and how employees meet them. For example, this could be listed as policies related to Massachusetts PFML.

What else should you include in your Massachusetts employee handbook?

While not specific to Massachusetts employee handbooks, there are many other must-have items that should be included (we describe them in detail in our article, What should be included in an employee handbook? 17 things you can’t miss).

They are as follows:

  • Work authorization
  • Equal opportunity statement
  • Anti-harassment statement
  • Workplace violence and workplace safety
  • Conflict of interest statement
  • Code of conduct
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Payroll deductions
  • Direct deposit
  • Health and welfare benefits and insurance
  • Employee assistance

What if your handbook is not in compliance?

Unfortunately most organizations don’t know (or care) that their employee handbook is out of compliance until they’re faced with an employee relations situation and don’t have documentation to support their stance. If you don’t have proof (as evidenced in your handbook), there can be legal liability as well. Your employee handbook should be a dynamic document that is used, questioned, and reviewed on a regular basis. Only once your organization sees the handbook as an HR bedrock will it be useful, so be as comprehensive as possible—and then get everyone on the team reading it!

See also: What’s the importance of an employee handbook? 13 experts weigh in

Need help with your Massachusetts employee handbook? Let Genesis know!

At GenesisHR, we can help you create and implement a simple, easy-to-read employee handbook whether you’re located in Massachusetts or anywhere else! To take us up on our offer, you have two options:

  1. Use this free template to make sure your employee handbook contains all the must-haves. If you have questions about any of the items, feel free to ask us!
  2. Schedule a free consultation with GenesisHR to see how we can help you, on a larger scale, with all of your HR, benefits, and compliance needs. Handbooks are a big part of this! We can help you create and implement a handbook specific to your company—providing real-world guidance and answering questions along the way for everything from handbooks to compliance, benefits, and beyond. You can schedule your free consultation here.