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HR

Manage your employees effectively by making the correct HR policies

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HR FAQs

  • HR considerations

    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.

  • What is health and safety?

    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.

  • Equal opportunities and discrimination in the workplace

    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.

  • Flexible working and working from home

    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.

  • Why have a disciplinary procedure?

    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.

  • Why have a grievance procedure?

    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.

  • What about bereavements?

    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.

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