As an employer, it’s crucial to provide your workers with a document that outlines the procedures and policies that you want them to adhere to. Using an employee handbook, or staff handbook, is one of the most effective ways to make new staff members feel at ease while protecting your business from litigation. The specific contents of a staff handbook will vary from employer to employer, but there are a few important policies and practices that should be included in every manual. Here are four of them.
Organizations employing five or more people are legally required to provide a written health and safety policy. This policy details how you will manage health and safety issues in your business and assure employees of your commitment to their well-being. You may also wish to include a section describing any hazardous activities within your business.
By law, you must provide your staff members with a method of dealing with grievances. Your grievance procedures should outline the specific steps an employee must make in order to file a formal complaint against the company. Addressing grievances in a timely manner lets your employees know that you take their concerns seriously, which in turn fosters a stronger working relationship between you and your staff. Keep in mind that even if a grievance procedure is not provided in writing, the ability to raise a formal complaint is considered an implied term of the employment contract.
Holiday pay entitlement varies from organization to organization, but full-time workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid holiday. For most employees, this will work out to 28 paid days off per year. You can, of course, give your employees more than the standard 28 days, but keep in mind that maternity, paternity and sick leave are considered separately and therefore cannot be counted as holidays. Your employee handbook should specify times of the year when holidays are not permitted (i.e. peak business periods).
Your staff handbook should make clear what is expected of employees in the event of sickness. Including a sickness policy in your employee handbook is the most effective way to keep your staff members up to date on their rights and responsibilities while minimizing the financial impact of employee absences on your business.
Our flexible employee handbook template includes all of the policies listed above. It also includes clear instructions for completing each section in compliance with employment law. Click here to download a copy of this convenient, editable template.
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