An employee handbook goes hand in hand with your policies and procedures and are often considered a necessary document for a business.
The basis behind an employee handbook or manual is to clearly outline the policies in which employees need to follow.
The handbook should be clear, concise and contain certain policies that are a requirement of law such as GDPR and Health and Safety.
An employee handbook is often used in tribunals to prove how reasonable an employer is, however, if you don’t follow it and keep it up to date, it can lead to the handbook being scrutinised in a tribunal.
A handbook can be part of the employment contract. This would mean that your employees would be bound by the Handbook, but this also works both ways, if an employer fails to follow the policies within the handbook it may leave you open to breach of contract and a possible constructive dismissal claim.
A non contractual handbook allows you to be able to make changes to policies without requiring employee consent. The employee handbook should clearly state if it is contractual or not.
A handbook should outline what an employee needs to know regarding booking annual leave, sickness, maternity, paternity, grievances, disciplinaries, time off in lieu, overtime and outline how the business expects its employees to behave. There are many more policies that can be found in the handbook. There are a few important areas that we would suggest are in the handbook.
- Health and Safety – if you have more than five employees you have a statutory duty to create a written document of health and safety policies and inform your employees.
- Diversity and equal opportunities – employers can be liable for discrimination against employees or potential employees, therefore it is important that employers have this clearly stated in their handbook.
You need to ensure your employees are aware of the different leave options such as maternity, paternity and adoption leave and what they are entitled to.
Employers need to make sure their policies are accessible to employees and that they are aware of them. All managers should have training on what is contained within the handbook and how to enforce the policies. As well as training sessions regular feedback should be sought from employees and managers.
It is important to make sure your handbook has the most recent GDPR changes. Any data protection policy that you had in place before GDPR came into force is out of date and should be updated as this could leave you open to a data breach.
Employee handbooks can be a useful tool for both employees and employers. Ensure handbooks are drafted correctly otherwise it could leave you exposed to legal action, which is why it is very important to get it right.
To find out more information on handbooks and how to draft them contact us at www.hrofficeltd.co.uk/contact/