As a small business with employees, it’s in your best interest to establish clear workplace policies that will set expectations and help reduce any misunderstandings.  Here are 4 employee policies that are essential for ANY small business.

1. Rules of Conduct: Standards of conduct ensure orderly operations and provide the best possible work environment.  It also establishes the standard upon which employees will be held accountable should they not live up to set standards.  Your policy should set expectations on everything from dress code and employee and/or customer interaction to describing behavior that would be considered misconduct.

2. Workplace Harassment: Now this one is a biggie.  This essential policy should clearly state that discrimination and harassment are unacceptable in your workplace and that such conduct have terminable consequences. Depending on the size and location of your business, it may be illegal to discriminate or harass workers based on gender, race, age, sexual orientation, sexual identity or even political affiliation. It’s important to know what are your local laws so that you make sure to cover them in your policy.  Employees should also know how to report a concern and be reassured by your strong anti-retaliation stance. 

3. Payroll & Employee Classifications: Some of the most expensive employee lawsuits are based on allegations of employees not being paid correctly.  That’s why all businesses, no matter the size, should have a formal pay policy.  The policy should include definitions of exempt and non-exempt employee classifications, as well as details on your pay period, payday, overtime rules and any meal/rest break guidelines for hourly employees.

4. Covid-19 Prevention & Exposure Response:  Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world of work, but it has also added state and federal laws that impose new obligations on employers of all sizes.  It’s critical to have policies and procedures in place to adequately cover the current crisis and comply with the many new laws and regulations, especially appropriately addressing and mitigating risks associated with a workplace COVID-19 outbreak. 

Whether you’re starting from scratch or need your existing policies updated, The HR Hotline is here to help.  Visit or email us at