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3. Aligning local-jurisdiction handbooks
Given that a single global employee handbook without local amendments or riders is not viable, there is just one option for a cross-border handbook approach: aligned local handbooks, one per country (or else one global handbook plus a local rider/addendum per country). First, draft a template for the local handbooks (or the handbook riders/addenda) that has a place to address each specific term/condition of employment to be covered locally—holidays, vacation, office hours, overtime, pay period, benefits, security procedures, smoking policy and the like. Then involve overseas human resources to craft a local version of that template for each jurisdiction. Yet even this approach raises challenges...
4. Alternatives to handbooks outside the US
There are multinationals that have successfully issued comprehensive, aligned local employee handbooks across jurisdictions. But the high hurdles here dissuade others from going down this particular path. Some confine detailed handbooks only to jurisdictions where handbooks are common locally—the US, China, certain common law jurisdictions. But when a multinational lets go of the goal of a global handbook, how to fill the void? Without handbooks, how does a multinational inventory and communicate employee benefits, practices, rules, and offerings across worldwide workforces? Fortunately there are some viable substitutes here; which particular substitute is most viable depends on the specific reasons a given multinational considered a global handbook in the first place. Consider...
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