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HR policies checklist

Employers of a certain size are required to have in place certain policies. Having in place other policies and procedures can help regulate and clarify the rights and obligations in an employment relationship. Bear in mind the specific needs of your business and, in particular, take account of any sector-specific requirements (eg dealing with hazardous substances).

Check that you have in place all relevant policies and procedures when you engage staff.

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If you engage 5 or more employees, you must have a written Health and safety policy in place.

A health and safety policy: 

  • deals with workplace health and safety issues (eg accident reporting and what to do in case of a fire)

  • sets out your commitment to reduce risks and observe legal duties relevant to the workplace and your business

  • sets out your employees’ duties in relation to health and safety and how they can meet these obligations

 

Consider creating an Employee vaccination policy to set out your approach to coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations and encourage staff to be vaccinated where possible. For more information, read Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations in the workplace and How to record the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status of staff.

 

Under the UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), you are required to comply with the principles for processing (eg storing and obtaining) personal data (eg names and addresses), including being transparent and providing information to employees about personal data and how it is used.

To meet these obligations, you should consider having in place a:

 

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. Consider creating a Disciplinary procedure to outline your business’ disciplinary process.

 

You should also consider creating a Grievance procedure to set out the steps that employees and employers should take to address any workplace grievances. These are any problems, issues or concerns which an employee encounters in the workplace.

Having a grievance procedure helps to demonstrate your credentials as a fair employer.

 

As employers can be liable for the actions of an employee where there is a case of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination in the course of employment, you should consider having in place an: 

 

To deal with sickness absence among your staff (including sickness reporting, prolonged absence and sick pay) you should consider making a Sickness policy.

 

Employees have a variety of ‘family friendly’ rights, including:

Consider making the following policies explaining the relevant processes within your business to help ensure obligations are met and rights are upheld:

 

If an employee with at least 26 weeks’ service requests flexible working (ie any working arrangement that is different from the default, such as working from home, working part-time or working compressed hours) employers must handle this request in a reasonable manner. Such requests can only be rejected for one of the eight allowed statutory reasons (eg a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demands).

Putting in place a Flexible working policy can help your business comply with the law and ensure that your employees understand the process of making and dealing with requests.

 

Employers should also consider putting in place a Working from home policy, outlining the employer's approach to home working (a type of flexible working), including: 

  • who is eligible to work from home

  • the process for requesting to work from home

  • the approval process

This policy ensures that employees are informed of their rights to work from home (either on a regular or ad-hoc basis) while showing that your business considers your employees’ specific and personal needs.

 

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it may be necessary for staff to work from home on a temporary basis. Consider creating a Temporary working from home policy to set out your approach to home working during the pandemic.

 

There is no obligation to allow staff to use IT equipment for their personal purposes. However, if you do allow personal use, make clear to staff that it must be lawful, reasonable and not interfere with their productivity or duties. You can, for example, restrict use to certain times of day or a certain limit.

In all cases, consider publishing the personal use rules that you decide on with a Communications and equipment policy.

 

An important risk facing businesses is the posting of anything via a social media platform which is potentially damaging for a company. This risk can be reduced with the adoption of a Social media policy, which sets out what is and isn't acceptable in respect of social media usage and postings. Bullying via social media can also be a problem in the workplace and another matter which can be covered by such a policy.

 

Consider making an Environmental policy to set out your business’ commitment to preserving the environment. Having such a policy in place helps your business comply with any environmental laws, keep employees informed about their environmental roles and responsibilities and minimise harm to the environment.

 

Redundancy is one of the potentially fair reasons to dismiss an employee.

Whether you are running a small or large business, the redundancy process needs to be dealt with fairly and consistently. A carefully written Redundancy policy ensures staff are aware of their rights when being made redundant, and avoids risks of unfair dismissal claims further down the line. It shows management is concerned about employees' welfare and employment security.

 

Read more on human resources (HR) and HR policies and procedures

If you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to Ask a lawyer for further guidance.

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