Internal Policies for Employers
When a person joins a business as a new employee, it is almost certain that he or she will be required to read some company documentation. This documentation is likely to have been created by a team of lawyers or HR professionals, and it should set out the guidelines for the company’s practical and legal operations.
Some businesses choose to formulate a large range of documents when establishing these guidelines, whereas other companies only develop those that are strictly essential.
Company policy documents are used to outline the internal company rules and workplace practices for persons working within and with the company (usually inclusive of independent contractors).
Company procedure documents are used to explain the processes that are to be followed in particular legal situations e.g., when disciplinary action is being taken, or a grievance is raised.
Nowadays, the need for policy documentation is more significant than ever, particularly given that an increased number of employees work remotely. This requires the establishment of many new guidelines regarding business practices and the transfer of company information. Our article about what a hybrid working policy should include explains in more detail how to adapt your policies to the current working environment.
It is important to note that company policies are only advantageous if the company ensures their enforcement.
Why do businesses need policy and procedure documents?
Having the correct policy documentation in place, as well as adequate information circulation amongst employees about its uses, is an extremely useful foundation for defending against prospective claims from employees (e.g., unfair dismissal claims, discrimination claims).
- Documentation sets out a clear standard for employee workplace practice.
- Documents can inform employees about exactly what they need to do and who to report to in various situations.
- Policy and procedure documents assist in ensuring compliance with the law.
- They serve as a training tool for staff.
Which internal policies are required by law?
Health and Safety Policy: Employers have common law and statutory duties relating to the health and safety of their employees, contractors and members of the public. These should be reflected in this policy in line with the nature of the workplace, the industry in which it operates, and the outcome of the employer’s risk assessment.
Equal Opportunity Policy: This document should discourage discriminatory attitudes and behaviours, especially on the grounds of protected characteristics such as gender, race and religion, making job applicants and employees feel confident about equality of opportunity.
Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures: This document sets out the procedure that will be followed where allegations of misconduct have been made against an employee and it sets out minimum standards of good practice for employers and employees in relation to grievances.
Bribery Policy: This policy is intended to be used by employers to help prevent bribery and corruption by or involving its workers and provide guidance on the employer’s and workers’ obligations and potential liabilities under the Bribery Act 2010.
Other Policies for Businesses to Consider:
- Hybrid Working Policy
- Absence Policy
- Performance Management Policy
- Employee Code of Conduct Policy
- Internet and Social Media Policy
- Compensation and Benefits Policy
Companies must ensure that they have established their documentation for legally required policies before proceeding with the creation of further, optional procedures and policies. Policy documents are subject to continuous changes in policy management throughout the lifespan of a business.
The number of policy documents required by a company will vary depending on various factors. The more rules that employees are subject to, to more policy documents may be required.
However, businesses should avoid implementing too many optional policies, as the excessive introduction of processes can result in the reluctance or resentment of staff, meaning that a balance must be struck.
How can we help?
At Davenport Solicitors, internal policy and procedure documentation advice is one of the vast array of services we provide for growing businesses. If you have any concerns over what is required and ideal for your business, please contact our legal team here.