Why have an employee handbook?

An employee or company handbook provides employees with relevant information on policies, procedures, rules, and entitlements.

There are many advantages in having everything written down in an easily accessible format:

  • A handbook projects a professional image of your company
  • Induction of new employees is much easier
  • You can be sure that all employees are aware of company rules and standards
  • All your policies and procedures are documented
  • Confusion and disputes about conditions of employment and “do’s and don’ts” are avoided

The handbook can help to reflect the culture of the Company, promote its values and positive behaviours as well as covering all administrative/operational aspects, so it’s important that you, as an employer, consider your own needs and requirements when finalising your handbook.

It’s quite common, for example, that an employee handbook deals with a number of matters, such as the logistics of overtime, taking time off for holidays and public duties, and for taking care of dependants.

Your Company’s handbook should also include your company’s rules on employee sickness and absence, maternity and paternity leave, and parental leave.

These arrangements will vary according to your company’s needs, although they will always need to be in line with statutory rules as a minimum.

As an example, areas which would be covered include

  • Joining the company – appointment, induction.
  • Pay and benefits.
  • Hours of work – time recording, flexible working.
  • Annual Leave – processes and legal requirements, for example, cross over with sickness absence.
  • Absence management – reporting requirements and policy for managing short and long-term absence.
  • Bribery, confidentiality, whistleblowing and data protection.
  • Equal opportunities and bullying and harassment policies.
  • IT rules including areas such as social media use in and outside of work.
  • H&S including stress and areas such as alcohol and drugs.
  • Disciplinary and Grievance procedures.
  • Family-friendly legislation policies.
  • Capability and performance management procedures.
  • Rules and processes around expenses and travelling on Company business.
  • Termination including the return of company property, notice requirements and redundancy.

You can amend the staff policies in the employee handbook at any time providing they are non-contractual.

The Company handbook should be made available to employees at any time.

To ensure this is the case, either a personal copy is issued to all individual’s or access is available to view on the Company’s intranet or a centrally stored hard copy.

Employees should sign or acknowledge receipt of the handbook.

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