When did you last update your Staff Handbook?
As an employer, you must provide a new employee with a Written Statement of the main terms and conditions of employment. Within that written statement, an employer often refers the employee to the firm’s Staff Handbook for information on the specific terms of policies such as Disciplinary & Grievance.
The advantage of the Staff Handbook is that it applies to all employees within the business, not just the new starter, and can help to ensure a consistent, coherent and legally compliant approach to issues such as leave of absence, grievance and disciplinary matters. A good handbook will also help to set out your firm culture and values and reinforce the standards that you expect from employees.
But how many firms regularly review the content of their Staff Handbook?
Making changes to a contract
We are often contacted by employers who need to make changes to the terms of an employee’s contract of employment or have a query about legal changes that may affect the terms of employment. This has been particularly prevalent during the COVID pandemic with issues such as remote working and need to introduce working from home policies; or perhaps where employers have concerns about the effect of new government rules and compliance with these.
We are able to advise on whether specific changes to the employment contract are required and the steps needed to make these changes. It is sensible to review the contents of your Staff Handbook at the same time, to ensure that all your policies and procedures are up to date and reflect your working practices.
Don’t end up in court
Unfortunately, all too often, we discover that the Staff Handbook has been neglected over a period of time and no longer reflects the firm’s current practices and, in some cases, do not even comply with current law.
If you don’t keep your handbook up to date, you may run into issues in the event of an employee making an employment tribunal claim. The tribunal will look to see what policies and procedures you have in place, whether they are fair and legally compliant, and whether they have been adhered to and applied in a fair and consistent way.
So, if you need to make a change to an employee’s contact, don’t forget to review your Staff Handbook at the same time.
For advice and support on this and any other employment law matters, please contact us:
T: 0800 302 9448