Employee Handbook Acknowledgment Page - What you should know

A handbook without a signature - did it ever happen?

Your employee handbook is the primary mechanism for communicating policies, rules, and culture to your team. It ensures that all staff members are on the same page and moving in the right direction. However, if your employees haven’t actually read the contents of the document, this important foundation of the relationship is missing. The handbook acknowledgment page is the mechanism that connects the policies you have created with the employee’s receipt of those policies.

Read on to discover more about why you need this page and how to get it right.

What Is an Acknowledgment Page?

An acknowledgment page — also known as a signature page — is the part of your employee handbook that confirms the document's content has been read and understood. The page is essentially an agreement that the employee must sign, stating that they understand and will comply with the policies in the handbook.

Signing the handbook (either digitally or with pen and paper) is an important process that you don’t want to skip. It’s similar to accepting the terms and conditions when you sign up for a service. You’re confirming that you are happy with (or at least aware of) all parts of the document and that you "agree with the terms and conditions". The acknowledgment page fulfills the same purpose for the employee handbook.

Why an Acknowledgment Page Is So Important

Why is the acknowledgment page so important specifically? After all, you could simply ask your employees to confirm that they have received and understood the document. Here are a few reasons why you need a dedicated signature page for your handbook:

1. Clear Confirmation and Compliance

The acknowledgment page will need to be signed and dated so there is no ambiguity. Any employee who has signed the acknowledgment page cannot later claim that they were unaware of its contents or that they disagree with the content.

2. Legal Protection

A signed handbook acknowledgment is a legal point of reference. It provides your business with protection from any disagreements or allegations that happen at a later date. This is why it is important to make sure this page is produced and presented in the right way — we'll discuss this below.

3. Rights + Responsibilities

Your business is obligated to treat all employees fairly and equitably. It also sets the bar for team members. In the same way that your company can’t discriminate or abuse employees, your team members can’t be abusive to each other. Reinforcing a company culture built on respect and fairness is the bedrock of a decent place to work.

4. An Opportunity to Deliver Feedback

Ideally, employees will go over the handbook carefully, engaging with the material and offering constructive feedback wherever they deem necessary. In reality, however, employees might not do this. Having to sign an acknowledgment page makes it more likely that employees will read the document in its entirety.

What a Great Acknowledgment Page Must Include

Here are the basics to include when crafting your employee handbook signature page:

1. Employee Signature, Employee Name, and Date
The employee must have space to print their name, sign the document, and record the date and acknowledgment of receipt.

2. Acknowledgment of Understanding
Employees must agree that they understand the content of the document.

3. Agreement of Compliance
Employees must agree to comply with all items in the employee handbook.

4. Anti-harassment policies
Be sure to include specific acknowledgments of your anti-harassment policies. Note that your employees should have at least two items to sign.

5. Rights and Responsibilities
Briefly outline the rights and responsibilities of the employee with regard to the handbook. The handbook is delivered to all employees, so the rights and responsibilities need to be general and applicable to everyone in the organization.

6. Limitations to the Handbook
The acknowledgment page should state the limitations of the document — i.e., demonstrating that this is a handbook with guidelines rather than a contract itself. The page should also clearly state that it does not supersede any agreements and contracts already made between you and the employee.

7. Updates and Amendment Forms
The handbook may change over time. Mention that the contents of the document are subject to change, and then prepare an update or amendment form so that all employees can sign off on any alteration.

The Signature Page Is a Major Asset

Your employee handbook signature page provides a wealth of benefits that will align your teams with your core values and the basics of how you operate. Follow the checklist above to craft a great signature page making sure all of your teams are moving in the right direction.

Note: When you create a Comprehensive handbook, all of the signature pages you need are automatically generated for you. If you've already created a handbook, visit your dashboard to upgrade your basic handbook.