An employee handbook acknowledgment is a form that employees can sign to indicate that they have read, understand, and agree to your company’s employee handbook. This acknowledgment is important for avoiding disputes over your employee handbook and its contents, particularly when disciplinary actions are involved.
All new employees should sign an employee handbook acknowledgment after they have had time to read the employee handbook. Existing employees should also be asked to sign an acknowledgment any time there are significant changes to the handbook.
Why Do You Need an Employee Handbook Acknowledgment?
An employee handbook acknowledgment ensures that your employee handbook is clearly recognized as an official document for your company.
By making employees sign that they have read, understand, and agree to the policies laid out in the handbook, you can ensure that everyone is aware of your company’s rules and the disciplinary actions for violating those rules. Employees cannot use ignorance of the policies in the handbook as an excuse for violating those policies, and they will know that the rules apply to everybody.
In addition, simply requiring employees to sign an acknowledgment form makes them more likely to actually read and comply with the employee handbook. Most employees want to know what they’re agreeing to, and they have to read the handbook to find out.
Signed acknowledgment forms also provide legal protection for your company in the event of a dispute that involves policies laid out in the handbook. Without an employee handbook acknowledgment, it’s difficult to establish that employees are aware of or have consented to the rules.
What Should an Employee Handbook Acknowledgment Include?
An employee handbook acknowledgment can be a relatively simple document, but it should include several key components.
- An acknowledgment statement. The first thing your acknowledgment form should do is state that employees have read, understand, and agree to the employee handbook.
- Agreement to handbook updates. Employee handbooks should be updated regularly. While it’s good practice to notify employees about updates, the acknowledgment form should make it clear that the handbook can be changed at any time without notice.
- At-will employment statement. It should be clear in both your employee handbook and the acknowledgment form that all employment is at the will of both the employee and the employer. The employee handbook does not change the status of employment agreements.
- Signature. Of course, the acknowledgment form should leave a place for the employee to print their name and the date and to sign the form.
Sample Employee Acknowledgment Form
Here’s a sample employee acknowledgment form that you can customize for your business.
I, Employee’s Name, have received my copy of the employee handbook for Company Name. I acknowledge that I have read, understand, and agree to the contents of the employee handbook. I have been given a chance to ask questions about the handbook and have had my questions answered to my satisfaction.
I understand that Company Name may modify, update, or revise the employee handbook at any time without providing notice. No statement, oral or written, by a supervisor, manager, or other employee can modify the employee handbook. I also understand that any instance in which Company Name fails to enforce a policy in the handbook does not constitute a change to the handbook. Only written changes to the handbook itself represent enforceable modifications to the handbook. The latest published version of the employee handbook supersedes all previous versions and policy statements, whether oral or written.
I understand that the employee handbook does not establish or imply a contract of employment. I understand that I am free to terminate my employment with Company Name at any time and for any reason, and that Company Name may terminate me at any time and for any reason.
I agree to comply with and enforce all of the rules and policies set forward in the employee handbook.
Printed Name: _____________________
What if an Employee Refuses to Sign the Acknowledgment Form?
You may run into an instance in which an employee refuses to sign the employee handbook acknowledgment form. This is often due to a misunderstanding about what they are agreeing to or because of outdated or incorrect information in the employee handbook itself. Sit down with the employee and listen to their concerns to see if the situation can be resolved easily.
If an employee still refuses to sign an acknowledgment form, you can ask them to sign a form saying that they do not agree to the employee handbook. However, this form should make it clear that your company will continue to enforce the rules and disciplinary actions in the employee handbook even if that employee does not agree to them. It’s a good idea to have a manager serve as a witness to the signature of this form.
An employee handbook acknowledgment is a form that employees sign to indicate that they have read, understand, and agree to the policies laid out in your employee handbook. This acknowledgment is important for ensuring that your employees are aware of the policies in the handbook and can support your business in the event of a legal dispute. You can customize our sample employee handbook acknowledgment for use at your company.