It is a legal requirement for a company to have policies… true or false?
The answer isn’t quite that simple. If the company has 5 or more employees, it must have a written health and safety policy to comply with the law and all companies should follow clear guidelines with reference to disciplinary and grievance procedures.
So, is that all that’s required? Again, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Every employer should have discipline and grievance policies and procedures available, however, from a legal point of view, there is no law stating that a company must have other policies. There is a minefield of obligations, regulations and employment laws to follow when employing people and getting it wrong could be costly to either a company’s reputation, its finances or both.
Ensuring that everyone is aware of what is expected of them is an effective way to begin to create a great culture and to explain how the company views certain behaviours. Clear policies that reflect and comply with regulations provide a framework that can be introduced to employees at their induction and help companies to avoid being an unwilling partner in a disciplinary process.
Having a set of clear policies doesn’t just help to protect a company from legal claims, it also sends a strong message to all employees that it intends to behave in a fair and consistent way. This could both enhance the company’s reputation and lead to a happier, more motivated workforce who want to stay with the company, saving it money by avoiding unnecessary recruitment costs and making it easier for it to attract new employees in the future.
Are your policies fit for purpose?
Do all employees know what policies your company has, where to find them and who to go to for information or to report problems? Do they make sense? If they are not practical, they will not be enforceable either. When were the policies last reviewed? There are many reasons that policies can become outdated including updates to legislation or case law, outdated language, changes to staff responsibilities and financial changes such as what expenses can be claimed for. How policies are presented and implemented will directly influence how they are received and perceived, so managers may need training themselves or support with this process.
We can help you
If you want to be sure that you have the right policies in place, Tick HR can provide a full review of your existing employment documentation, including contracts, handbooks, policies and forms, followed up with a report of findings and proposed changes if any are required.