Work Place Policies and Procedures
If an employer has five or more employees, a written health and safety policy is mandatory. This policy deals with a number of health and safety workplace issues, including accident reporting and what to do in case of a fire. The policy must set out the employer’s commitment to reduce risks and observe legal duties relevant to the workplace and its business. It will also set out what employees’ duties are in relation to health and safety and how they can meet these obligations.
What is Required by Law?
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), the main legislation implementing the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the UK, requires employers to comply with the principles for Processing personal data, including being transparent and providing information to employees about personal data and how it is used. Employers can meet this obligation by providing a privacy notice when an employee starts work and by having a Data protection and security policy in place.
What other policies and procedures should employers have in place?
In addition to the legal requirement for certain employers to have a written health and safety policy, employers should consider adopting other key policies and procedures as a matter of good practice, depending on size and the nature of the business.
The written statement of employment which employers must give their employees as a matter of law (generally as part of the employment contract should either contain or refer to disciplinary rules and procedures. Many employers will create a separate disciplinary procedure to deal with these critical issues which should take account of the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. Hand in hand with this often goes a grievance procedure which helps to demonstrate your credentials as a fair employer.
An equal opportunities policy should set out your commitment to equal opportunities in matters such as recruitment. It must comply with the Equality Act 2010 and relevant European legislation.
Employers should consider having a data protection and data security policy in place, to cover how confidential information is stored and its obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018.
What is a sickness policy?
A sickness policy helps you deal with sickness absence among your staff, including sickness reporting, prolonged absence and sick pay. A sickness policy is a document that outlines the policies and procedures your employer has in place to manage sickness absence and return to work.
The sickness policy would aim to:
- be developed in consultation with management, staff and trade union representatives (where relevant);
- ensure the health and wellbeing of staff is taken seriously and that all precautions are taken to look after them;
- provide procedures to be followed in regard to sickness absence, including the reporting, recording, and management of sickness absence in a fair and consistent manner;
- provide guidance around supporting employees while they are absent and to help them to return to, and remain in, work wherever possible
- provide guidance to support retirement on the grounds of ill health or termination of the contract if continued employment is not a viable option
What Should an Anti-Bribery Policy Cover?
A bribe is an inducement or reward provided by Person A for Person B to act improperly in order to gain an advantage, whether commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal. It may be money, gifts, hospitality or some other benefit or a promise to provide one of those things in the future.
It is still bribery if it happens in a private business relationship not just if public officers or government is involved – and whether the bribe is provided directly or indirectly. It does not matter whether the person receiving the bribe is the same one who will deliver the advantage.
UK legislation counts improper payments for people to do their job properly (known as ‘facilitation payments’) as bribes. These typically involve a bribe to avoid an application or notice being ‘lost’ or put to the bottom of the pile.
It is also a specific offence under the Bribery Act to bribe a foreign public official. For these purposes, a public official is very broadly defined.
An Anti-Bribery and corruption policy can help in demonstrating compliance with the Bribery Act 2010, and communication and use of equipment policy covers employee use of the internet and other company IT or communication devices.
Social Media Policy now a must have?
Social media is a double-edged sword for employers. On one hand, it serves as a free promotional tool for your company thanks that allows employees to share work-related photos and positive news on their personal social media channels. On the other hand, it has introduced the need to regulate these communications without stifling them. As Voltaire first said, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
With tech-savvy Millennials in the workforce and now Generation Z (those born in 1995 or later) on their heels, the lines between “personal” and “professional” have become increasingly blurred online. As a result, your company would do well to maintain certain guardrails to ensure that no trade secrets or brand negativity are publicly shared.
This is why many companies have instituted a workplace social media policy as part of their onboarding or human resources training efforts. This document gives employees a clear understanding of what they are allowed to post on their own channels and what is off-limits.
Without such a policy, your company is at risk of facing legal issues or even a public relations nightmare due to an account hack.
The Pros Of A Social Media Policy
Remember that two separate social media policies may be necessary:
1. One for each employee’s personal social media channels.
2. One that relates to the corporate social media accounts, which might be managed by several employees. (Community management is usually part of the following departments: Customer Service, Human Resources and/or Marketing / Social Media).
We can create a social media policy to suit your needs.
Maternity and Paternity Policy
Welcoming a new baby into the family is an exciting time for any employee, but a stressful time and a clear workplace policy is essential. A variety of working rights are available for new parents, each of which aims to support and assist them into their transition into parenthood. It is important that you are aware of your obligations, as there are steps that can be taken to enforce them if you fall short of your responsibilities to them.
In terms of leave entitlement policies, maternity and paternity policies are very important. It’s also worth considering putting into place a parental leave policy, flexible working policy, and a homeworking policy.
When it comes to ending employment, employers can consider adopting a retirement policy and a redundancy policy.
Other policies can be introduced, in addition to all the policies mentioned above. Employers must consider the specific needs of their business and, in particular, take account of any sector-specific requirements (eg, dealing with hazardous substances).