Key Policies for Your Staff Handbook

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Over a series of articles, we are going to look at some of the key policies that any small business should have in their Staff Handbook.

The majority of the key policies you’ll need in your Handbook are there for two reasons;
1.    To provide details of what the processes are in certain typical situations

2.    To protect yourself with a compliant policy that is in-line with employment legislation and meets minimum employer obligations

Maternity and Paternity
Current Employment legislation provides details as to what the employer’s obligations are when a staff member is expecting a child, this also includes the amount of pay your staff member is entitled to during and after the pregnancy.

If, for example, a female employee is pregnant, then there are a number of stages along the way that must be met in order to support your employee. There are also statutory payment value that are stipulated as minimums.

Shared Parental Leave
In April 2015, a completely new piece of legislation was introduced to cover Parental Leave and more specifically, Shared Parental Leave. This covers both in relation to Birth of a Child and Adoption of a Child. This enables sharing time off work when a baby is born.

In your Staff Handbook, you need to have policies and procedures that, at minimum, meet the minimum requirements of the relevant legislation. The policy and procedure should provide enough detail to describe how your business will manage and deal with these situations.

Another key element, which is as important as having the right policy and procedures in your Staff Handbook is making sure you follow them. I know so many businesses that have good policies and procedures in place and have ended up in sticky situations because they haven’t followed their own policy.
I once heard that Tribunal panels are often harsher on businesses who haven’t followed their own policy than if they hadn’t had one at all.

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