NEW YEAR, NEW LEAF « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Checklist for a California Workplace Policy Handbook

With the blank slate of a coming new year come the resolutions.  No matter the size of an operation, making sure a business has an adequate and up-to-date employee policy manual should be high on the list.

A California workplace manual should include:

  • Definition of at-will employment status
  • Work schedules, meal and rest breaks
  • Equal employment opportunity
  • Unlawful harassment prohibited
  • Paid sick leave benefits
  • Pregnancy disability leave (5 or more employees)
  • Lactation accommodation
  • Application of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) (5 or more employees)
  • Application of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (50 or more employees)
  • Company confidentiality rules
  • Privacy rules and limits, including inspections of employee work areas and personal property
  • Prevention of violence
  • Injury and illness prevention plan
  • COVID-19 protocols

Depending on workforce size, best practices would also include written policy on:

Law or Policy Number of Employees on Payroll
Crime Victim’s Leave Any number    
Crime Victims’ Leave: Legal Proceedings/ Reasonable Accommodation (CA Labor Code sections 230.2 and 230.5) Any number    
Jury Duty Any number    
Military Leave Any number    
School Visits Involving Suspensions Any number    
Smoking in the Workplace Any number    
Volunteer Civil Service Leave Any number
Voting Any number     
Witness Duty Any number    
Workers Compensation Leave (aka Leaves for Occupational Disability) Any number    
Harassment Prevention Training 5 or more employees
Paid Organ and Bone Marrow Donor Leave 15 or more employees
Civil Air Patrol Leave 16 or more employees
Alcohol/Drug Rehabilitation Programs 25 or more employees
Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Victims’ Leave: Time Off for Medical Treatments (CA Labor Code section 230.1) 25 or more employees
Literacy Education 25 or more employees
Military Spouse Leave 25 or more employees
School Visits 25 or more employees
Emergency Rescue Personnel Training 50 or more employees
Optional policies can include paid vacation, paid holidays, bereavement leave and of course many more.

Other Required Distributions: While not in the scope of a typical employee handbook, employers, depending on workforce size, must separately distribute policy and related forms on:


(re: continuing health insurance for a departing employee)

2 or more employees

(re: continuing health insurance for a departing employee)

20 or more employees
(plant closure/mass layoffs)
75 or more employees
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Reporting

(a compliance survey mandated by federal law to support civil rights and prevent workplace discrimination)

100 or more employees

Industry- and Operation-Specific Policies: Employers should also include industry- or operation-specific policies, e.g., affirmative action plans and/or specialized nondiscrimination programs for certain federal/state contractors and subcontractors; Affordable Care Act rules; policies consistent with collective bargaining agreements for union employees; and summary plan descriptions for any ERISA-covered retirement or health benefit plans.

Multistate Operations: Companies employing workers in multiple states should consider: ● distributing separate employee handbooks which comply with the laws of each such state; ● distributing one multi-state handbook with state-specific addenda; or ● applying the laws of the most restrictive state in which you have employees to all your company locations.

Hire-to-Fire Template Agreements and Forms: Sound practice also dictates a full set of updated hire-to-fire agreements and forms, including but not limited to job applications, employment agreements, “alternative dispute resolution” (mediation and arbitration) agreements, and many more.

See also:

Our firm offers updated template policies and forms and works regularly with clients on customizing such guidelines for particular operations.

To order or for more information, contact Office Manager Aimee Rosales at 626.583.6600 or email her at

Contact Us

If you are an employer facing possible litigation, or have an employee issue on which you need immediate guidance, call us to set up a consultation, or submit your message.

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