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When you’re creating a list of human resources policies for your organization, it can be helpful to refer to HR policies examples that illustrate what a good policy looks like to help you think about how you want to shape your organization’s culture through policy.

In this article, I've provided some examples of specific HR policies, as well as a demonstration of how workplace policy might be laid out in an employment handbook that is reviewed during onboarding and an employee contract in terms of detail, language, and tone.

This should be done with an eye toward compliance at all times.

Before we dig into all of that, we’ll briefly cover what HR policies are.

What Are Human Resource Policies?

HR policies are rules, processes and procedures that layout how employers and employees can work together to create an ideal work environment for both groups.

This includes the responsibilities of both the employees and employers in aligning with applicable laws regarding employment classifications, conflicts of interest and state and federal laws regarding employment policy.

These policies usually cover things like:

  • Vacation, leave and absenteeism policies
  • Employee health and safety policy
  • Recruitment and hiring policies
  • Compensation policy (includes details for overtime pay and guidelines for part-time workers)
  • Flexible working
  • Employee conduct (includes a variety of topics from harassment policy to dress code)
  • Technology usage and social media policy
  • Work travel (covers expense and reimbursement)
  • Training programs

Human resource management policies should be informed by relevant employment laws and labor laws.

They're typically stored in the employee handbook, intranet, or HR software.

Six HR Policies Examples

Here are six examples of essential HR policies to include in a standard employee handbook or written policy documents—vacation policy and sick leave policy.

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Vacation Policy Example

Here’s a sample policy you might consider for employee vacation time. 

Employment ContractEmployee Handbook
You will be entitled to an annual paid vacation equal to 20 days in each calendar year of employment, prorated for any partial year of employment, to be taken in accordance with the Company’s vacation policy in effect and as amended from time to time in the Company’s Employee Handbook.”Every year you get 20 days of vacation. 

Whatever you do, it’s our responsibility to make sure you get time away from work, and your responsibility to arrange and take it.

Vacation is accrued monthly, which means if you start half-way through the year, you have 10 days of vacation, rather than 20, in your first calendar year. 
Work directly with your manager to schedule a vacation, discuss any special requests, or arrange for unused vacation to be carried over to the next year. 

Attendance Policy Example

The following is an example of a company attendance policy.

Employee ContractEmployee Handbook
Regular attendance is mandatory for the effective operation of the Company. The employee is required to adhere to the start and end times of their work schedule, including adherence to break and lunch periods. Absences, tardiness, or early departures must be reported to the immediate supervisor as per company policy. Repeated failure to comply with these requirements may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Being here on time every day makes a huge difference - not just in your work, but for the whole team. We count on you to stick to your schedule, including breaks and lunchtimes. If you're going to be late or can't make it, please let your manager know as soon as possible. We understand things happen, but let's try to make these the exception, not the norm.

Health (Sick) Leave Policy Example

Here’s a sample policy you might include for employee sick leave. Related areas may include a leave of absence for medical reasons and details such as the company’s compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for employers in the United States.

Employment ContractEmployee Handbook
You will be entitled to paid time off due to illness in accordance with the Company’s health leave policy as may be amended from time to time at the sole discretion of the Company without advance notice. Unused sick time will not be paid out for any reason.If you’re sick, please do not come to work! It’s your responsibility to take as many days as you need to recover and feel better. 

Health Days are paid time off. All we ask is that you call your manager and let them know what’s happening. If they’re not there, leave them a voice mail, and then call a trusted co-worker and let them know the situation.

(If you don’t offer unlimited sick time, or have a short-term disability policy...)

One thing to keep in mind: if you’re sick more than X consecutive days, or are involved in an accident prohibiting you from coming to work, contact HR. 
You may be asked for a doctor’s note confirming you’re unable to work. We trust you, but it may be required in order for you to qualify for coverage under our short- and/or long-term disability plan.

Flexible Work Policy Example

Here's an example of how a flexible work policy can be presented. It’s important to highlight that this policy is part of the company’s employee benefits offering and not a legal requirement the company has to comply with as part of their employment.

Employee ContractEmployee Handbook
The employee is entitled to engage in flexible work arrangements as mutually agreed upon by the employee and their direct supervisor. This arrangement may include varied work hours, remote work opportunities, and compressed work weeks, subject to the approval of the Company. Such arrangements shall be reviewed periodically and are subject to change based on organizational requirements.
Here at [Company Name], we understand the importance of work-life balance and offer flexible work options to support this. You can discuss with your manager the possibility of working different hours, working from home, or even compressing your work week. Remember, these options depend on your role and team needs, and we'll need to revisit these arrangements from time to time to make sure they're working for everyone.

Employee Conduct Policy Example

Here's an example of language around employee conduct. This section should cover your code of conduct for things such as workplace violence, sexual harassment, and non-discrimination policies.

Employee ContractEmployee Handbook
The employee shall adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct and integrity. Failure to comply with company policies, ethical standards, or legal regulations may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. The employee is expected to foster a respectful workplace environment that aligns with our specific policies of anti-harassment and non-discrimination.
We're committed to maintaining a professional and respectful workplace. This means we expect you to follow our policies and behave ethically at all times. We have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or discrimination of any kind. If you're ever in doubt about what's acceptable, please talk to your manager or HR. We all play a part in making our workplace great!

Technology Usage and Social Media Policy Example

Here's an example of language regarding use of company property and employee behavior on social media platforms.

Employee ContractEmployee Handbook
The employee must use company-provided technology, including computers, mobile devices, and network resources, in a responsible and ethical manner. Use of such technology for inappropriate purposes, including but not limited to the dissemination of offensive content, unauthorized sharing of confidential information, or engaging in activities that harm the company’s reputation, is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action. The employee is also expected to exercise good judgment and professional discretion when using social media platforms, both in a professional and personal capacity, especially when discussing matters related to the company or its business.
We provide you with technology to help you do your job and we trust you to use it wisely. Remember, anything you do on company devices should be work-appropriate. Also, be thoughtful about how you represent yourself and [Company Name] on social media. Whether you're tweeting, posting, or sharing, think about how it reflects on you and us. Let's keep things professional and positive!

Deepen Your Knowledge of HR Policies

If you need more examples or more background about HR policies, check out the following content we've developed to help you become a policy expert!

Are there any other HR policy examples that you’ve come across that are relevant or useful? You can also discuss your examples and opinions with the People Managing People community in our forum—join the conversation here!

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By Mike Gibbons

Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and product strategy; organizational and team development; and business growth and operations. He's held various senior leadership positions in the technology industry, and in 2016 participated as a lead member of the deal team responsible for the sale of Point Grey Research to FLIR Systems for USD$256M. Mike is guided by his deeply-held beliefs in connection, curiosity, humour, empathy, and honesty. Since leaving the corporate world in 2018, he's provide fractional executive and growth and strategic planning advisory services that have helped several early stage companies mature, grow responsibly, and live true to their values.