I am often asked about the importance of Employee Handbooks and what should be included so I thought it would be useful to share my advice in this article, providing a list of recommended policies and procedures to include.
Please note Employee Handbooks are not a one size fits all. Policies should firstly be tailored to the individual needs of the business and be there to provide clear and helpful guidance to employees. Secondly to rely upon if disciplinary action is necessary or an issue turns contentious and you need to evidence and justify the business' actions.
Being an Employment Lawyer when advising clients I always think about the possible end result -: Tribunal. I then work backwards as to how I can best protect my clients. Think about common or likely issues that could arise and the necessary rules the Company would need to publish to make it clear the standards expected of employees and how actions may be dealt with if standards are not met.
Don’t leave space for ambiguity or expect employees to know about a specific policy if they have never actually been told about it. Keep an eye on what’s happening in the world, or even more precise, Employment Legislation. Everyone knows Social Media is the latest craze to cause problems for employees, and this will only continue for the foreseeable future. If you have a tailor-made Social Media policy that employees are aware of and have had training on, you may just be able to avoid problems that are inundating the Tribunals at present.
Remember the Handbook should be guidance only and as a general rule not contractual. Of course you may wish some policies to be contractual; this is for the business to consider and another reason as to why Handbooks cannot be generic.
Of course with a good Handbook comes good HR Practice. As employers you must remember to act reasonably at all times and in accordance with Employment Law and published guidance.
I hope my list below will help focus your mind or at least alert you to the fact you may need some assistance.
- Adverse Weather
- Annual Leave Policy
- Anti Bribery Policy
- Absence and timekeeping Policy
- Bring your Own Device
- Capability Procedure
- Communication Policy
- Compassionate, Bereavement and Domestic Emergency Leave
- Data Protection
- Dignity at Work Policy
- Disciplinary Procedure
- Dress Code
- Email, Internet & Social Media Policy
- Equal Opportunities Policy
- Flexible and Homeworking Policy
- Grievance Procedure
- Harassment and Bullying
- Health and Safety
- Hospitality and Gift
- Mobile Phones
- Parental Leave
- Paternity Leave
- Pensions Policy
- Performance Appraisals
- Proof of Eligibility to Work in the UK Policy
- Public Duties Leave
- Recruitment Policy
- Redundancy Policy
- Sickness Absence
- Subsistence and Travelling Expenses Policy
- Substance Misuse and Smoking
- Training and Development
- Working Time Regulations
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your Employee Handbook further, I'd be happy to help. Please just get in touch.
Head of Client HR