Answer:

Massachusetts employers are not legally required to have a Company Handbook.  However, they are required by law to have a number of important policies, many of which must be distributed to employees at time of hire and other times during employment. Specifically, almost all employers must have a sexual harassment policy; parental leave policy, earned sick time policy, and Pregnant Worker Fairness Act policy.  The sexual harassment policy must be distributed at time of hire and annually thereafter.  Similarly, the pregnant worker’s fairness act policy must be distributed at time of hire and within 10 days of learning that someone is pregnant or has a pregnancy-related condition to that specific person. 

Employers with 50 or more employees  are also legally required to have a Family and Medical Leave Act policy, Small Necessities Leave Act policy, and Domestic Violence Leave Act policy.  Finally, Massachusetts employers who run 5 or more criminal background checks per year must have a CORI policy; certain federal contractors must have a Drug-Free Workplace policy; and any employer who has personal information of residents of Massachusetts (i.e. social security numbers for employees, bank account number(s), credit card number(s), driver’s license number(s)) must have a data security policy with a separate Written Information Security Plan (often referred to as a WISP). 

As a result, many employers choose to organize these policies, along with others they wish to adopt into a Company Handbook or Personnel Manual. It is strongly recommended that employers have an at-will employment policy, equal employment opportunity policy, paid family and medical leave policy, and more in their handbooks.  Employers who are interested in developing a Company Handbook or having theirs reviewed for compliance should contact their labor and employment counsel.

This question was answered by Amelia Holstrom, a Partner at Skoler, Abbott & Presser.  Amelia can be reached at aholstrom@skoler-abbott.com or 413-737-4753.