Clear employment policies save hassle
None contractual employment policies are important
Employment policies can tell employees how their employer expects them to behave at work.
These internal documents are not usually part of an employees employment contract. This means it’s easier to change them and keep them up to date.
The law requires employers to have some employment policies. For example discipline and grievance procdures. Others employment policies deal with areas where employees have legal rights. Therefore the policy must take this into account. For example health and safety policies or equal opportunities policies. Others policies will be mainly about how you run your business. This can cover such things as dress code or expenses procedure. However even these policies must still be lawful e.g. dress codes must not be discriminatory.
Employment policies are usually kept together in a Staff Handbook which you can be update as necessary. Below is a list of policies which will appear in most employee handbooks.
- Vehicle use and driving – driving licences, insurance, personal use, mobile phones etc.
- Anti-harassment – ways to prevent harassment of staff and specific grievance procedure for dealing with harassment)
- Equal Opportunities – terms to ensure equal treatment for employees
- Social networking – regulating the use of social media such as LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook etc.)
- Smoking, alcohol and drugs abuse
- Email, computer, and internet use.
- Data protection
Discipline and grievance
All employers must give employees with a written disciplinary and grievance policy. This must be done even if there are no other policies. The policy should take into account the ACAS code on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures . When an employer is going through the dismissal procedure they must follow the ACAS code. An Employment Tribunal will look at whether the code has been followed when deciding whether a dismissal is fair.
A fair grievance procedure is also important. It gives employees a way to raise problems and they get resolved as quickly and simply as possible..
More time to work on your business
Clear policies mean employees and employers know where they stand. This means there are likley to be fewer disputes. Employees are less likely to break or bend the rules. Employers are more likely to enforce clear rules. Other employees are also likley be be happier when their errant colleagues don’t get away with breaking the rules.
Kirsten Moon– Employment Law Solicitor – Partner