Ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace
Inform staff about how you collect, use, retain and share their data
Set out your policies on equal opportunity in the workplace
Set out available flexible working arrangements
Let employees know how they can work flexibly or remotely
Ensure health and safety is followed whilst employees are WFH
Manage sickness absence
Set out your business' approach to employee vaccination
Set out your business' redundancy process
Set out how disciplinary issues will be handled
Set out your approach towards workplace bullying and harassment
Set out your approach towards employee bereavements
Communicate your data protection practices to consultants
Set out your approach to employee holidays
Set out your equal opportunities recruitment process
Explain your business' procedures for employees' jury service
Communicate health and safety procedures and other provisions for lone workers
Set out how your employees can take time off for dependants
Communicate your rules and processes for staff expenses claims
Inform staff members about whistleblowing law and procedures
Set our your organisation's hybrid working model
Set out how you support staff experiencing the menopause
Let staff members know how AI can be used in your workplace
The fast-changing nature of employment law means that it's important to have a comprehensive set of up-to-date HR policies and procedures in place. These can help set out the rights and obligations of those responsible for administering HR and employees.
There are a wide variety of HR policies that can be adopted. A written Health and safety policy is compulsory if you have five or more employees. Other policies can help set out how employment matters such as discipline, employee grievances, parental leave, and issues such as discrimination and equal treatment are dealt with. Having these HR policies incorporated into your business will give your employees clarity and certainty. The prevalence of IT used by employees and the challenges which it brings, such as data protection and the popularity of flexible working, are addressed by other policies.
One of the key duties of any employer is to protect the health and safety of anyone who works for them. This can range from ensuring that there aren't any hazards in an office which can cause injury, to providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for members of staff working with dangerous machinery in a factory setting. All businesses with five or more employees are legally required to have a written Health and safety policy outlining the responsibilities of managers and employees. Staff should be made aware of first-aid arrangements and an accident log should be kept, recording all major workplace injuries. Employers are also required to have employer's liability insurance in place. For more information, read Health and safety.
The development of equality law means that it's vital for all processes and decisions relating to employment, including those relating to recruitment, progression and dismissal, are to be completely free from all unlawful types of discrimination. There are specific 'protected characteristics' including sex, age, race, disability, sexual orientation and religious or philosophical belief, which must not be used as a basis for any employment-related decisions. An Equal opportunities policy tackles this sensitive area and gives staff confidence in your status as an impartial and responsible employer. An Anti-harassment and bullying policy further sets out what measures a business takes to eliminate and prevent harassment and bullying in the workplace. For more information, read Equal opportunities and discrimination.
All employees with at least 26 weeks' service have a statutory right to request flexible working. Applications must be dealt with in a 'reasonable manner' and employees must be notified of a decision on their application within 14 days. It can be used by any employee who has worked at their company long enough and who has not made a request in the last 12 months. Consider having a clear Flexible working policy in place which covers the types of flexible working available, the process for making requests, how they will be considered, the potential reasons for refusing a request and informal flexible working requests. For more information, read Flexible working.
Employers should also consider putting in place a Working from home policy in place. This document outlines the employer's approach to home working - defining who is eligible to work from home, the process for requesting to work from home, as well as the approval process. Having this policy in place ensures that employees are informed on their rights to work from home (either on a regular or ad-hoc basis) while showing that businesses consider their employees’ specific and personal needs.
A Disciplinary procedure clearly explains the disciplinary process to employees. This includes investigations, hearings and companions. It also provides employees with examples of unsatisfactory behaviour and gross misconduct. Implementing one shows a commitment to a fair process and leaves employees in no doubt about what is acceptable and what is not. For more information, read Disciplinary warnings.
Implementing a Grievance procedure allows employers to deal with all grievances raised by employees fairly and consistently. A grievance procedure explains how to raise a grievance, the process and gives examples of types of grievances that can be raised by employees. For more information, read Employee grievances and raising grievances.
Employees are legally entitled to 'reasonable' time off work to deal with emergencies, including bereavement involving a dependant (eg a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone else who depends on the employee for care). What is considered a 'reasonable' time off is not defined - and will therefore depend on the specific circumstances. There is no legal requirement for an employer to pay an employee for time taken off work due to a bereavement. It is recommended that employers create a Bereavement leave policy to set out their business' approach towards bereavement leave. For more information, read Bereavement leave and pay.
Further, qualifying parents who have lost a child, have a legal right to take bereavement leave. Parents who have lost a child under 18 (or where a child was stillborn after 24 weeks’ pregnancy), on or after the 6th of April 2020, are entitled to take up to two weeks off to allow them time to grieve. Parental bereavement leave can be paid or unpaid depending on how long the employer has worked for the employee. For more information, read Parental bereavement leave.