Employee Handbook

Employee Handbook

Federal Labor Law            L&I Calendar.        Working in the Heat                Your Safety #1

Workplace Safety.               Your Rights            Job Safety and Health Law

Environmental Safety/ Report.   Insurance        If an accident occurs           Proper Lifting


The Job/Seasonal

Gardening/Gardener

job description

Mostly pulling weeds, trimming small shrubs and digging up unwanted. dead or invasive trees and small bushes. Some lifting required, bags of bark, wheelbarrow loads, bags of rock. Mulch On has an open door policy you may always say you are not comfortable with doing a certain task. You will always have a co-worker on any heavy jobs. Must be able to be on your knees for much of your job. 

March/April- Spring Clean up

May-June- Planting and maintenance

July-Aug- Maintenance and garden sitting

Sept-Oct-Maintenance and fall clean up.

About the job

We work a 4 day work week. Monday-Thursday.  Most days are 4-6 hours. We may start earlier to beat the heat in the summer and we may cancel a job due to rain or snow to be rescheduled and possibly have to work a longer day.

We take the week of the 4th of July off. We do not work holidays or weekends.

You can expect 16-20 hours per week, depending on how many jobs we have. We are still a growing business. You will be given a cash incentive for any paying clients you bring in. You cannot work for any of the Mulch On clients for a lower rate. Although at the end of season if they request leaf raking and you want to do that I will give them your contact. See contract below.

Because our day is only 4 hours we work straight through. Travel between jobs is not included in your daily pay. We do try to keep all jobs for the day in one area so you may carpool if you want to.

Always take a break if you need to but will not get paid for it unless you work more than 4 hours then you are entitled to 15 minutes for every 4 hours. 


Maple Sapling. Getting to the root of the problem
Maple Sapling. Getting to the root of the problem

Mulch On History

Mulch On was created summer of 2021 during a pandemic to meet a threefold need.We provide the following:

  • Weed pulling and design for small scapes and gardens,
  • Jobs for people with a passion for gardening, beauty, saving the earth and the bees!
  • Alternative workplace for people who want to work outside and reap the benefits of working in the soil
  •  In 2022 we joined Spokane Scapes Professionals to promote and create low water usage lawns and garden. We served over 50 gardens . Created 2 volunteer gardens and designed one business front. 

Our Mission

"To show kindness and respect for each client and their garden...to leave the property neat and clean..to achieve our clients garden vision...to end weed population by hand pulling weeds and putting the mulch on...to encourage drought tolerant landscapes and pollinator gardens..to save the earth"


EMPLOYEE NON SOLICITATION CONTRACT


Non Solicitation and Privacy: As a Mulch On Employee you agree to not directly or indirectly solicit business from or attempt to sell, license or provide the same or similar products or services as are now provided to our clients of Mulch On. Furthermore you will not directly or indirectly solicit induce or attempt to induce any employee of Mulch On terminate his or her employment with Mulch On during your employment or for the 18 months after terminating your position. You will not at any time or in any manner, either directly or indirectly use , divulge, disclose or communicate in any manner for your personal benefit or profit any information that is proprietary to Mulch On or Mulch On clients during your employment or for 18 months after you terminate. You agree to refer to Owner of Mulch On on all issues related to the creative design of each garden. This is a legally binding contract. By reading this you are acknowledging the contents of contract and agreeing to them. You will sign a document stating your acknowledgement and agreement to this and all policies.

Training

Training is done on the job You will be notified of place and time via Yardbook App.  If you are training on the job you will be given regular pay rate. 

PAY

Everyone starts at the same base wage (above minimum wage) and will be eligible for pay raise in 1, 3 months and at end of season.

TIPS

It is okay to accept a tip if a client offers a cash tip for a job well done you and your co workers can split it. If I get a tip I will share with you as well. 

PTO

Washington State Law requires that you accrue 1 hour of paid time off for everyone 40 hours worked, to all your employees regardless of full-time, part-time, temporary, or seasonal status. You begin to accrue PTO day one of work and may use them after first 90 days for sick or vacation, will rollover to next year. 

TIME OFF

Vacation or other time off needs to be requested at least one week in advance if possible. Sick call must be called in or texted to office the night before work day. Failure to call in or a no-show is reason to terminate your employment. 



 


What you need to start the job;

At least 3 pair of heavy duty garden gloves that you will wash in laundry between jobs. Some weeds have spores and can be transferred to other gardens so extreme caution is used when dealing with these.

Your own trowel, popper, small hand shovel, bypass pruner, broom and dust pan, Shuffle hoe.

You will be shown how to identify weeds and the best way to dig or pull them up.

You can download weed app for yourself if you prefer.

Simple tools ( as in physics) are used in gardening and you will be taught the basics of body mechanics when lifting and must use wheelbarrow for any heavy hauling to prevent any injuries. The kit in above picture is from Amazon for $36 You can also get most of them at dollar store in the spring. Most of the time you will be working in teams of 2 or 3.

Larger tools will be provided rakes, shovels, hoe, pitch fork, trench digger, hedging shears, leaf blower, weed hacker and a bucket for weeds. Depending on job.


Important!!

We require each gardener to examine with the client the placement of drip line and sprinkler system. Mark with orange flags initially and any breaks in system noted prior to starting job report to owner and to me. Flag any pipe you may have damaged and notify owner and me.

USE EXTREME CARE AND CAUTION WHEN DIGGING IN GARDEN BEDS OR CUTTING BACK PERENNIALS. DRIP-LINES CAN BE SNIPPED AND PIPES CAN BE NICKED IN WHICH CASE THE GARDEN WILL NOT GET WATERED AND MULCH ON WILL HAVE TO REPLACE DAMAGES.

We will have replacement stopcocks and connectors for drip lines in case of accidental cut or snip. And some training on how to do this. Supervisor and Client must be notified of any incidents regardless of severity.

Ethics Obviously!

Maintain high ethical standards. Kindness and respect are your guiding principles

Annual background checks for everyones safety.

No drugs or alcohol or smoking while on the job.

No complaining to coworkers about the job, come to me!

You may have your phone on while you work but only use while on breaks. No social media posting during work hours. No headphones for safety reasons. You can use your phone to take before and after photos for Yardbook. Forward them to Mulch On email Yardbook or home office.

Always be kind and respectful of client and their garden/yards and property.

Remind owner that you are on the clock if they engage in conversation and that you have another client that Is expecting you at a certain time if you cannot seem to break away.

Keep track of your tools and other personal belongings, KEYS, HATS,GLOVES and do inventory before and after each job.

Always call the main office number if you have any questions or concerns.509-768-3607

Clock in and out with Yardbook. Your supervisor will also be signing you in and out of each job. WE NO LONGER USE TIME SHEETS HOWEVER YOU CAN TRACK YOUR HOURS ON YOUR OWN.

Time sheets are done by your lead on the worksheet. You can also keep a time sheet.

Must do a walkthrough prior to each job. If dog excrement is not picked ask owner to pick up or if not home leave the WE HAD TO RESCHEDULE CARD>

WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR CLIENTS PETS. BUT BE SURE THEY ARE SECURED PRIOR TO JOB if not must reschedule and leave the card at door.

Place yard sign in yard while doing the job. Each job will have specific time frames for sign.

WE DO NOT USE CLIENTS BATHROOM. FIND THE NEAREST PUBLIC BATHROOM ON YOUR WAY TO JOB.

Take a 15 min break for every 4 hours you work.


Liability

You will need to have your own car and health insurance and maintain a valid drivers license. You are responsible for any car accidents while on the job, L&I is not a substitute for car and health insurance but is available. 

Respect

Mulch On is responsible for inspecting every clients in ground sprinkler system prior to starting a job. Look for areas in lawn or garden bed that appear to have been dry for a long time and ask owner about it. Lines need to be marked with orange flags and drip lines identified. If any drip lines are found to be broken or without stopcocks report to owner immediately and to your lead asap.

Mulch On is not responsible for our clients pets, and will always ask them to keep pets corralled or inside while we work as well as pick up pet excrement prior to the job. We will however ensure that all gates and enclosures are secure before we leave. If at anytime you do not feel comfortable with clients pet notify your supervisor immediately so that we can call owner and deal with situation. CLOSE GATES EACH TIME YOU ENTER OR LEAVE!!!

We do not use our clients bathrooms. On each job prior to arriving you must locate the nearest public restroom and utilize your break time to drive to it. Because we only work 4-5 hour shifts it is possible that you may not need to use the bathroom until your shift is over. Please keep this in mind when preparing for the day. We want you to stay healthy and strong so we do encourage hydration and to bring your own water bottle. Plan accordingly.

Part of your job is to find out where the good bathrooms are. Some suggestions are large grocery stores, Rosaurers, Target, Lowes, McDonalds. Avoid drug stores or places that require a key to the bathroom or for you to have to buy something in order to use it. 

Neat and clean

Be sure to leave each project looking neat and clean. At the end of each job use the leaf blower or broom and dust pan even on the dirt if you see any unevenness that makes it look messy. This is also a time to look for weeds you missed. Large weeds have been found on this final sweep.

Strive to make it beautiful. Use your broom to sweep up any debris from paths or drive ways and then a light sweep with mini broom to garden bed if needed to make it look even and clean. Free of random leaves or petals. Use the expandable rake on the grass at least one foot around the perimeter.


Our clients dream is our mission

You will never be asked to do a consultation, but eventually with experience will be able to do an estimate. Most estimates however will be done by myself.

If a client asks for anything above and beyond what is on your work list you must call or text me .

Difference between estimate and consultation

An estimate is simply estimating how much time it will take to complete the desired job the clients want done.

A consultation is when client and owner meet to discuss a plan for a new small scape, raised garden beds, drought tolerant plants and pollinator garden that we will design, initiate and help to maintain for years to come. The client is given a step by step plan that may take a few years to complete. The end result will be a garden that can withstand our particular climate and require little maintenance. These designs are assigned to the seasoned gardener who best fits the clients needs.


Types of mulch

We believe that applying mulch is the best way to control the spread of weeds. It does so by preventing sunlight from reaching the weeds and eventually they die out. It is essential that you know the basics of mulching.

Two rules of mulch:

#1 lay the mulch down on soil that is already weeded, and

#2, lay down a thick-enough layer to discourage new weeds from coming up through it.

A 3-four-inch layer of mulch will discourage weeds, although a two-inch layer is usually enough in shady spots. If you know that a garden bed is filled with weed seeds or perennial roots, try a double-mulching technique to prevent a weed explosion. To do so, set plants in place, water them well, spread newspapers or cardboard and top it with mulch.

NEED TO KNOW:
Mulches that also retain moisture (like wood chips) can slow soil warming.

The Warm Crops like basil, eggplant, pole beans, and tomatoes germinate best with warmer soil temperatures.

The Cool Crops prefer the lower temperatures of spring and autumn, and includes beets, carrots, salad greens, and turnips (see below).

For all seeds, if soil temperatures are too cold, they will not sprout. If temperatures are too warm, they either will not germinate, or, they will grow too rapidly, and fail to mature properly or die off. Ever see a crop bolt? That's the result of too much heat. will also notice that some crops known to grow nicely in cool conditions actually respond best to extra warmth for seed germination, yet mature best in cooler temperatures. Clearly, nature is not concerned with convenience.

In spring, pull mulch away from perennials and bulbs for faster growth.

A wet mulch piled against the stems of flowers and vegetables can cause them to rot;

keep mulch about one inch away from crowns and stems.

Mulch piled up against woody stems of shrubs and trees can also cause rot and encourages rodents (such as voles and mice) to nest there.

Keep deep mulch pulled back about six to 12 inches from trunks.

Straw:ORGANIC Good for Raspberry and strawberry gardens. Helps keep the water that is given to them from evaporating so fast and prevents weeds from overtaking the area. Just make sure you opt for a weed and seed-free hay, and avoid piling it around stems of vegetable or fruit tree trunks to prevent slug and rodent damage. Make sure it is biodegradable processed weed free.* We have purchased weed free mulch and soil that contained an invasive weed called "hairy bittercress" The owner contacted the company and they refunded her all her money. We will need to keep on top of this weed until we eradicate it.

Bark or Wood Chips:ORGANIC Bagged brown, black or red mulch is the best. Spread a wood chip or shredded leaf mulch anywhere on your property, but it looks best in flower beds, shrub borders, and garden pathways. Of course, it's right at home in a woodland or shade garden. Keep in mind that wood chips aren't a smart choice for vegetable and annual flower beds, since they'll get in the way as you dig the beds each year.

Pine Needles:ORGANIC Good weed suppression; stay in place well; good on slopes; slow to break down; increase acidity, which benefits some plants (blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas, and some types of conifers).:

Leaves ORGANIC If you have trees on your property, shredding the fallen leaves creates a nutrient-rich mulch at no added cost. You don't need a special machine either: a lawn mower with a bagger will collect leaves and cut them into the perfect size for mulching.

CompostORGANIC: Must be moist best to spread as a thin layer around plants and top it with another mulch, such as chopped leaves. This allows the compost to stay moist and biologically active, providing maximum benefit for your vegetables, fruits, or flowers.

CardboardOrganic:Reusing cardboard for the garden provides compostable material, kills pesky weeds and develops a bumper crop of earthworms. Cardboard in the garden will also kill lawn grass and help you get a new bed ready for veggies, ornamentals or whatever you want to grow.It provides good insulation from heat. 

Rubber mulch does a better job of insulating plants from heat compared to wood chips and other organic materials. In "indoor" gardens like sun-rooms and solariums, it is especially beneficial because it does not break down and emit a rotting smell. NOT RECOMMENDED

MULCH CAN COOL OR WARM THE SOIL

When you want your soil to be cool and when you want it to be warm.

Soil temperature is critical for seed germination. Also, if the soil temperature when the seed is germinating is too hot or too cold, subsequent plant growth will likely be adversely affected. ... Any heat stored in the soil as the days grow warmer will be retained longer. Soil moisture also affects soil temperature.

if soil temperatures are too cold, they will not sprout. If temperatures are too warm, they either will not germinate, or, they will grow too rapidly, and fail to mature properly or die off. ALL SEEDLINGS NEED LIGHT.

You can leave it in place for heat-loving vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, but because plastic isn't permeable, ensure that these plants receive enough water.

A bit later in the spring as the soil warms and dries, we begin to spread organic mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials.

Some garden seeds like cool soil and you can plant early in spring. like greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Organic mulch applied at the time of planting will keep soil cool for successful seed germination.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR MULCH TO DECOMPOSE

Bark Mulch: 7-10 years

Wood Chips: 5-7 years

Cocoa Shells: 2-4 years(we do not use these)

Straw: 1-2 years

Leaves: 6-18 months

Grass Clippings: 1-6 months(may have toxic weed killer in them)