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Employment Policies

We get asked regularly about what policies are required when taking on employees. It is quite surprising how many small businesses still don’t have in place any policies; let alone those required by law.

Policies play an important role in defining an organisation’s approach to employment matters. Despite the fact that very few policies are legally required, a great deal of these are strongly recommended from a best practice perspective.

In British Law there are three company policies required:

· Health & safety policy (if you have more than five employees),

· Disciplinary and dismissal policy,

· Grievance policy.

Five additional policies that an organisation should have in place:

1. Equal opportunities

Although it’s not stated as a legal requirement, the Code of Practice to support the Equality Act 2010 recommends that employers implement an Equal Opportunities policy. While not having a policy in place is not unlawful, a tribunal will take a negative view of this should you have to defend against claims of discrimination.

2. Fair disciplinary hearings

The Employment Rights Act 1996 requires employers to give employees a note specifying any procedure that applies to disciplinary decisions and the steps involved in dealing with a grievance. In addition, the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures recommends that employers introduce a policy outlining their commitment to fair disciplinary hearings and explaining their grievance reporting procedures to staff. Employment tribunals also reserve the right to add an uplift to compensation payments for any employers who suffer a loss at tribunal and fail to follow the Acas Code of Practice.

3. Personal data

Arriving in 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) placed a number of requirements on employers when it comes to managing and processing personal data. To ensure compliance with these requirements, employers might choose to implement a policy that outlines their right to process personal data and explains to customers and staff some of the consequences.

4. Lateness and time off

Certain policies such as those on lateness, sickness absence and use of company property can be effective in moderating employee behaviour, whilst simultaneously forming the justification for taking action if required. Although these are not legally required, incorporating such policies will place employers at a significant advantage, as staff will be unable to claim that they were unaware of the expectations placed upon them, providing the justification to take punitive action.

5. Equality and diversity

While it's not a legal requirement, it is recommended that employers have a policy that clearly prohibits discrimination. These policies clearly define discrimination and outline the procedures for reporting discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.

At Notebook & Pen we always recommend talking through with us what the organisation does, the size of the staff team, any planned future growth and the mission, vision and values. With all of this in mind, we make recommendations for additional policies that might be beneficial for the organisation and tailor them accordingly.

If you have any questions about your employment policies, please get in touch

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