One of the biggest headaches in employing people is getting HR policies right. If you fail to have basic documentation in place, even in very small companies, it can cause untold hassles, costs, losses and much worse. So why take the risk?
Save time and money by using our ready made free employee handbook template in your business. This policy has been written by experienced HR professionals and is updated regularly to take into account changes in UK employment legislation. It’s as simple as downloading this document and letting your employees know about it.
This Employee Handbook, together with your principal statement of terms and conditions of employment or contract of employment cover the main terms and conditions that are applicable to your employment with The Company.
Please take time to read the information carefully and contact your line manager or the HR Manager in the first instance should you have any questions or require further details. Additional policy documents governing your employment with us are referred to in this document, these can be found here: (insert location)
We rely on the commitment and effectiveness of our employees to ensure that our business is a success. It is therefore vital that you enjoy your work and that we work together as a team to achieve our goals.
We welcome you to the team, and we wish you every success with your employment and hope that your time with us will be both enjoyable and rewarding.
SALARIES AND WAGES
You will be paid at the times and methods set out in your contract of employment. However, we reserve the right to vary the method and frequency of payment and will let you know about any change of this nature. You will receive a payslip detailing how the payment made to you has been calculated. It will also show the deductions that have been made and the reasons for them, for example, Tax and National Insurance.
If you have been inadvertently overpaid or underpaid for any reason you must let (name of person responsible) know straight away. The overpayment or underpayment will normally be corrected at the next payment period. If it is later discovered that you were overpaid, we reserve the right to deduct the overpayment from your remuneration.
Salary/wage reviews will be held (insert frequency and timing of pay review whether annually or other, and what month) and you will be advised of any adjustments to your pay. Any salary increase will be awarded only at management discretion.
We reimburse all reasonable authorised expenses incurred by you on behalf of our business in the performance of your duties. Expenses can be claimed by completing an expense form and submitting it to (insert name of person). Please refer to our expenses policy for more information on which expenses are eligible for reimbursement and how to claim, if this is not followed we reserve the right to refuse to reimburse expenses.
Time and Attendance
Please note your hours of work as stated in your employment contract. You are expected to attend work punctually and observe the stated limits for rest breaks. No additional breaks are given for smoking or other reasons. Personal calls if necessary must be made during given break times.
Your individual holiday entitlement is outlined in your employment contract.
Our holiday year begins on (insert holiday year start). If you start or finish your employment with us during the holiday year, holiday entitlement will be calculated as a pro-rata amount of the annual entitlement.
Should you join part way through the holiday year, you will accrue your holiday on a monthly/weekly/hourly basis (delete whichever in inapplicable)
If you work part-time, your hours/days are calculated pro rata according to your contracted hours.
Please refer to our holiday policy for more information on how to apply for holiday leave. The key points to note are as follows:
● All holiday requests must be authorised by your Line Manager following the correct procedure.
● All holidays should be authorised before any bookings are made or deposits paid.
● Holiday requests will be considered alongside the operational needs of our business.
● You need to give at least one month notice for any request for holiday, unless agreed otherwise by ourselves.
● You may request up to 10 days holiday at any one time, although longer periods may be considered in exceptional circumstances.
● We do not allow any holiday entitlement to be carried forward from one year to the next, save in the event of your long term sickness immediately prior to the end of our annual leave year. Therefore it is important that you take all your holiday entitlement in the year in which it was accrued. OR:
● You are entitled to carry over (insert number of days) leave forward from one year to the next. You must apply for permission in writing to carry over leave from your line manager. Permission must be requested no later than one month before the end of the holiday year.
● Upon termination, payment that has been made for holiday in excess of your pro-rata entitlement will be recovered from your final pay or any money owed to you by us, where appropriate.
● When you are working under notice, we reserve the right to require you to take any remaining holiday entitlement during this period.
Requests for time off for religious holidays should be made in line with the above holiday request procedure and will be considered alongside the operational needs of our business. However please be aware there is no automatic right to time off for religious reasons.
SICKNESS ABSENCE AND LATENESS
We wish to promote a healthy working environment which supports the well being of our employees. We recognise that illness may prevent you working from time to time. If you feel unwell, we would prefer you to rest and recover until you are fit to work. You are the best judge of your health, and it may be possible to attend work in cases of minor illnesses. However we also expect you to consider the health of your colleagues and take all sensible precautions to avoid spreading infection around the workplace.
If you are unwell enough to be unable to work, you should let us know as soon as possible, within 30 minutes of your designated start time, and in any event by no later than (insert appropriate time)
You should speak in person to your Line Manager and give the reason for your absence, or the nature of the illness. It is not acceptable to send a text or an email, or to ask a spouse or family member to call in on your behalf, or to speak to a colleague, except in cases of medical emergencies.
If your illness exceeds one day, you still need to contact us daily until your absence is certified by a doctor.
If you are off sick for up to 7 days you will need to complete our self-certification form on your return to work. We will also conduct a return to work interview.
You must give us a doctor’s ‘fit note’ if you are off sick for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days). Hospital doctors or GPs can provide a fit note. The fit note will say that you are either ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work’. If it says you ‘may be fit for work’, we will discuss any changes that might help you return to work (eg different hours or tasks).
You should ensure that you arrive at your place of work in enough time to start work promptly. Your start time is given in your contract of employment or otherwise will be advised to you. If you are unable to get to work on time you must contact your Line Manager as soon as possible to inform them that you will be late, the reasons for this and your expected time of arrival.
“Lateness” is defined as 5 minute after designated start time.
You may also be required to make up some or all of the time lost due to lateness or have your wages prorated accordingly to reflect your actual hours of work.
We monitor absence levels and unacceptable levels or patterns of absence may lead to disciplinary action. Each case will be assessed on its merits and will normally be considered within the disciplinary procedures. In order to investigate absence from work we reserve the right to visit you at home.
Sickness absence and statutory sick pay (SSP)
During authorised absence due to sickness you may be entitled to SSP in line with current rules.
In order to qualify, you must comply with the absence reporting procedure set out above. Before payments of SSP are made to you there is a period of 3 waiting days. This will start from the first day that you should have been available for work. If you are sick for a period of 4 or more days, we may pay you SSP if you are eligible.
Payments may be withheld if we believe there is reason to doubt the validity of a claim for sick pay. We reserve the right to order an independent medical examination where considered necessary. Unauthorised absences or false reporting of sickness are serious disciplinary matters and can amount to gross misconduct which may lead to your dismissal without notice.
Additional Sick Pay (only insert if additional sick pay is paid; otherwise, omit this clause)
Any additional sick pay will be paid entirely at our discretion and you should not consider that you have a contractual right or entitlement to receive this.
Any additional sick pay that you receive will already encompass your entitlement to SSP.
Where your absence from work is due to injury or illness caused by a third party, if you go on to subsequently bring personal injury proceedings, which are successful or settled for compensation, you agree to reimburse us for any additional sick pay made to you.
If you are taking medication you must tell your doctor the nature of your work so that they can assess your fitness to work. In addition, you should also discuss any medication you are taking with your line manager so that they can be aware of any side effects that may affect you whilst at work and make any adjustments as applicable.
If we are concerned about your absence record, we may ask your permission for you to have a medical examination by your doctor, or a doctor of our choice. If you do not agree to this, we will have to make a decision about your continued employment based on the information available.
If you require any time off for appointments, please ask permission from your Line Manager.
However, you should ensure that wherever possible, appointments are made outside of your working hours. Although we will make every effort to accommodate time off where possible, there is no guarantee that we can accommodate every request. As a general rule, doctors and dentists appointments should take up to no more than two hours out of a working day.
If time off is granted you will not be paid.
Extreme adverse weather and public transport difficulties
In the event of extreme adverse weather conditions, e.g. heavy snow and flooding, or if your journey to work on public transport is affected by industrial action, engineering works etc, you are expected to make every reasonable effort, including the use of alternative means of transport, to arrive at work at your scheduled start time.
If you decide that weather conditions or public transport difficulties are sufficiently severe to prevent you from travelling to work and arriving safely at work you may ask to either:
● Take the day(s) as annual leave;
● Take the day(s) as authorised unpaid leave of absence;
● Where appropriate and with permission from management, work from home.
In either case, you must contact us in the manner discussed above for lateness to review the difficulties you are having and the options that are available to you.
Please see our holiday policy for further details of additional authorised leave that you may request, including jury service and time off for public duties.
WORK AND FAMILIES
If you are pregnant, you must let your line manager know as soon as possible so that we can ensure a safe working environment for you by carrying out a risk assessment and explaining your rights.
You should let us know about your pregnancy no later than the 15th week prior to the week in which your baby is due. You will need to provide a certificate to confirm the expected week of childbirth.
We can then discuss your entitlements with you and help you with arranging any leave of absence from work.
Paternity leave is available for fathers. If you wish to take paternity leave, please discuss this with your line manager so that they can discuss your entitlements with you and help you plan any leave of absence.
Adoption leave is available if you adopt a child. If you are planning to adopt you should inform your line manager as soon as possible so that they can discuss your entitlements with you and help you plan any leave of absence.
Shared parental leave
Shared parental leave applies to children due to be born or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.
You may be eligible for shared parental leave and, if you wish to find out if you are eligible for this then please let us know and information will be provided upon request.
If you are a parent, you may be able to a take a period of unpaid leave from work in order to spend time with your children. If this is something you are interested in, please discuss this with your line manager.
You may be entitled to take unpaid leave in order to deal with an emergency involving someone who depends on you. Where an emergency situation arises, you must ensure that you make your line manager aware of the need for you to leave work before doing do.
If you have worked for 26 weeks continuously at the date an application is made, you will have a statutory right to request flexible working. It should be noted that only one statutory request for flexible working can be made in any 12 month period and any application submitted must be done so in writing.
The request must include the date of your application, the change to working conditions being sought and when you would like them to come into effect.
You must also include in your application any effects that you think the change you are requesting might have on the Company, specify that it is a statutory request and, if you have made a previous application for flexible working, specify the date on which that was made.
Any request for flexible working will be considered reasonably and in a timely manner.
In the sad event of the death of a family member, the Company will grant compassionate leave to allow you time off to make funeral arrangements, as well as to attend a funeral, as follows:
● Death of immediate family member: Up to 3 working days paid leave
● Death of a non-immediate family member: Up to 1 working day paid leave
Any additional time off will need to be taken as unpaid leave.
The Company recognises that each family is different so the definition of immediate and non-immediate may vary from case to case. Therefore we will take into account individual circumstances and exercise discretion when considering compassionate leave requests.
You should be aware that we reserve the right, at our absolute discretion, to amend or withdraw any of these compassionate leave provisions.
BEHAVIOUR OUTSIDE OF WORK
Outside of working hours your behaviour would only become an issue if any activities adversely affect the operations of our business or its reputation.
These may include (but are not limited to) any of the following:
● Bringing our business into disrepute.
● Adverse publicity.
● Actions that result in loss of faith in the business by third parties.
● Bullying or harassment
STANDARDS OF DRESS
Dress Code (only insert this clause if you have a dress code. Amend to include details of any uniform or specific requirements)
We expect you to wear dress appropriate to the job that you are doing. Remember that your image is part of the image that we portray. Therefore it is imperative that standards of dress are maintained.
As part of your role, you may be given access to and be permitted to make use of certain company equipment and property. Where this is the case, you are not permitted to use such property for any purpose other than its intended use. In particular, laptops and mobile phones provided for business purposes are not to be used for personal use or by anyone else.
Whilst in your possession and when you are using any such property, you are expected to take good care of the items.
You should not remove any business property from our premises unless expressly authorised to do so and you must notify management when you become aware of any damage to our property. Upon termination of your employment for whatever reason, or upon any other request, you must return immediately to us, any property belonging to the business.
We allow reasonable use of business telephones during working hours as long as your ability to undertake your duties is not affected. Personal calls should be made during your breaks or lunch hours.
Personal mobile phones
We allow reasonable use of personal mobile phones during working hours as long as your ability to undertake your duties is not affected. Personal calls should be made during your breaks or lunch hours.
You must not accept or agree to accept any offer of gifts or services from clients, customers, suppliers or distributors, whether potential or current, or any person having similar connections with ourselves without prior consent from management.
In compliance with the Bribery Act 2010 no employee should directly or indirectly offer, promise, give, accept or demand a bribe or other undue advantage to obtain or retain business or gain other improper advantage. All offers of bribes from third parties must be reported to management as a matter of urgency.
NO SMOKING POLICY
We operate a no-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted in our buildings, premises, in vehicles being used for business use, or at our customers’ sites while carrying out on-site work. This clause also prohibits the usage of E-Cigarettes or similar products in our buildings, premises, or in vehicles being used for business use. If you smoke you must use the smoking areas provided. We do not allow additional smoking breaks for smoking. You must smoke during your designated breaks.
Work areas must be kept clean and tidy at all times to reduce the risk of fire and accidents. We provide kitchen facilities for your use during authorised breaks. You are responsible for cleaning and tidying this area after use.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Our Health & Safety Policy can be located (insert location). It is essential that you comply with health and safety regulations. You must read and take note of any health and safety notices. You are expected to take reasonable care for your own well-being, and that of your colleagues.
ACCIDENTS AT WORK
If you have an accident at work, however minor you may consider it, you must record it on the correct accident book or sheet. If you are working off site you should document the accident on the site where you are working and notify management immediately.
You MUST provide details of the nature of the accident or injury, any first aid treatment that was administered, the names of any witnesses and the date and time the accident occurred.
CHANGING TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT
We reserve the right to change your terms and conditions. Any changes will be discussed with you prior to the proposed change in a consultation exercise and the appropriate notice will be given.
If you wish to resign from your position you must inform (insert name of person). The period of notice will begin from the date we receive this notification. Your last day of employment will be the date on which your notice expires unless agreed otherwise. The amount of notice you need to provide is detailed within your employment contract.
If you leave your employment without working notice, or giving the required notice, and we incur any additional cost or suffer any loss because you have failed to work it, this cost may be deducted from any wages or money owed to you. If you are dismissed for gross misconduct you will not be entitled to notice or notice pay.
TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT
If it becomes necessary to terminate your employment with us, we will inform you in writing. The amount of notice we will give you is detailed within your employment contract. If you wish to appeal against a decision to dismiss you, you should do so in writing to your line manager in the first instance.
We reserve the right to place an individual who is on notice on “Garden Leave”. Under this, we may require you to neither attend your place of work, nor to contact clients, customers and suppliers whether current or potential, and may not provide you with any work or may provide you with alternative work of a broadly similar nature. This right is exercisable at our absolute discretion. Whilst on “Garden Leave” you will receive your basic pay and still be subject to our rules and disciplinary procedures.
PAY IN LIEU OF NOTICE
We reserve the right to make a payment in lieu of notice for all or any part of your notice period on the termination of your employment. This provision, which is at our discretion, applies whether notice to terminate the contract is given by you or by ourselves. Any such payment will consist of basic salary only, and will be subject to deductions for Income Tax and National Insurance.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY
This policy is intended to ensure that our employees understand their obligations and assist us in putting our commitment to equal opportunities and diversity into practice.
We aim to treat everyone equally and to ensure that no job applicant or employee is discriminated against on the grounds of a protected characteristic as defined by legislation. The following are protected characteristics:
● Gender reassignment;
● Marriage and civil partnership;
● Pregnancy and maternity;
● Race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origin);
● Religion or belief;
● Gender; and
● Sexual orientation.
In addition, we aim to ensure that no job applicant, employee or worker is treated less favourably or placed at a disadvantage on the grounds of their part-time or fixed term status or trade union activities.
Our Equal Opportunities policy applies to every activity and aspect of employment including but not limited to the advertisement of jobs, recruitment, appointment, provision of benefits, allocation of training, promotion, disciplinary proceedings, dismissal, conditions of work, pay, references and the provision of goods or services. If you believe that you have been treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic you should report the matter to your manager, or where appropriate i.e. if the less favourable treatment involves them, directly to another manager so that the issue can be investigated and resolved. If you have a disability please let us know so that reasonable adjustments can be considered.
We do not tolerate any unlawful or unfair discrimination and anyone found to be acting in a discriminatory manner will face disciplinary action which could include dismissal without notice for gross misconduct. Everyone has a duty to report unlawful or unfair discriminatory behaviour to a member of management. We actively promote equality of opportunity and require everyone to contribute towards achieving this objective.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL POLICY
The use of illegal drugs, ‘legal highs’ or consumption of alcohol in the workplace are not permitted under any circumstances and may lead to disciplinary action that could result in your dismissal without notice for gross misconduct.
The possession of drugs for any reason other than medical is strictly forbidden.
We may ask you to undertake a medical examination and/or an appropriate test if we believe that you are under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs and/or ‘legal highs’ in the workplace. In addition, we also reserve the right to undertake random testing. If you refuse to take part in a medical examination or appropriate test, this may be treated as gross misconduct and appropriate inferences drawn from your refusal to participate.
We wish to ensure the health and well being of all our employees. If we are advised of a drug and alcohol abuse problem we will work to signpost the employee to appropriate sources of support.
Please refer to our computer, internet and social media policy for more information, the key points to note are as follows:
● You are responsible for the security of confidential company data that you have access to.
● You must keep passwords safely and securely and must not divulge them to anyone else.
● You must use the computers for the purpose for which they have been given to you and you must not download any software that is not authorised by management.
● You must not copy or distribute any software or material that breaches copyright, and you must ensure you do not engage in any inappropriate, illegal or malicious use of computers or software.
● You should only use the business email system for legitimate business purposes and never for personal purposes.
● Any email that you send through our computer systems or mobile telephones are our intellectual property. We reserve the right to retrieve all emails or monitor internet usage for any reason permitted by law.
MONITORING OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
In accordance with the law we will exercise our right to intercept and monitor electronic communications received by and sent from employees such as telephone calls, text and email messages. This may be to monitor criminal or unauthorised use, viruses, threats to the computer system, or to ensure the effectiveness of its operations and compliance with our policies and procedures.
USE OF INTERNET SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
We require employees to understand the potential for breaches of confidentiality and abuse of others when using social networking websites (such as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’).
The Company allows reasonable use of social networking websites during working hours subject to our policy and rules and provided that it does not involve unprofessional or inappropriate content and does not interfere with your employment responsibilities or productivity.
We recognise that from time to time you may wish to raise concerns relating to your employment, or discuss matters that are causing you personal distress or upset whilst at work. It is our policy to encourage free communication between employees and management to ensure that any problem or issue arising during the course of employment can be resolved as fairly and as quickly as possible.
In order to achieve a speedy resolution of any problem or issue that you may have, you should start by having an informal discussion with your line manager. Having an informal discussion can quite often solve the problem. Should your grievance concern your manager, or if you feel it too serious to raise informally, you should raise the matter through the formal procedure as set out below.
Formal written grievances must be submitted to your line manager or another manager of the same level, where applicable, outlining the details of your complaint and the desired outcome. You will then be invited to attend a formal hearing to discuss your grievance further. At the hearing, you have the right to be accompanied by either a work colleague or an accredited Trade Union representative.
Following the formal hearing and once matters have been investigated by us you will receive a written outcome to your grievance.
Following the grievance meeting and its subsequent outcome, if you are still not entirely satisfied or consider you have not been fairly treated you may appeal in writing. Your appeal should say why you are appealing against the decision and this needs to be received by us within 7 calendar days from when the written outcome was sent to you, unless exceptional circumstances prevail. You will then be invited to an appeal hearing at which you will also have the right to be accompanied by either a work colleague or an accredited Trade Union representative. You will receive at least 24 hours’ notice of the appeal hearing. Following the appeal hearing, you will receive a written outcome which in turn will conclude the process.
PREVENTION OF HARASSMENT AND BULLYING
We take the prevention of harassment and bullying in the workplace extremely seriously. We do not tolerate such behaviour and will take immediate and appropriate action to deal with it.
Please refer to our harassment and bullying policy for more details of what constitutes harassment and bullying and your rights and responsibilities while at work.
DISCIPLINARY RULES AND PROCEDURES
The purpose of our disciplinary policy and procedure is to ensure that our process for disciplining staff is applied fairly and consistently, whilst still ensuring that each disciplinary matter is taken on its own merits. We aim to ensure a positive working environment where disciplining of employees is not necessary. Most issues can be dealt with informally and this is how we aim to resolve them in the first instance.
It is only when issues become more serious or cannot be resolved informally that the formal process will be triggered.
You should be aware that any breach of any policy set out in this Handbook, your employment contract or our company policies may lead to our disciplinary process being invoked. Serious breaches can lead to gross misconduct and dismissal without notice.
Please refer to our disciplinary policy for more details of the process and what could lead to the disciplinary policy being invoked.
Should you wish to complain or appeal about the handling of the disciplinary policy, you should contact your line manager in the first instance. If your complaint involves your line manager, you should contact the HR Manager.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Any invention, improvement, design, process, information, copyright work, trademark or trade name or set-up made, created or discovered by you in the course of your employment (whether capable of being patented or registered or not) relating to our business or capable of being used or adapted for use in or in connection with our business shall be disclosed immediately to a member of management and shall (subject to section 39 to 43 Patents Act 1977) belong to it and be its absolute property.
In order to fulfil individuals’ contracts of employment, monitor sickness, performance, equal opportunities and otherwise administer our business, we will use and process personal information relating to you which we have obtained during the course of your employment.
Such information includes, but is not limited to the following:
● Employment history;
● Personal circumstances;
● Educational qualifications;
● Sickness records;
● Medical records;
● Accident reports;
● Attendance records;
● Performance appraisals;
● Disciplinary records;
● Ethnic or racial origins;
● Personal financial data including bank account, pension scheme, salary sacrifice data and tax data;
We hold this personal data about you confidentially and will only disclose it to others where there is a need to do so. In addition, sensitive data such as information about your health, racial or ethnic origins, criminal convictions, trade union membership, political or religious belief may also be stored and processed, and you give your express consent to any such processing by signing and returning the receipt at the end of this document.
Under the legislation, you are entitled to have access to certain personal data held about you. If you require access, you should contact your manager. The request should be made in writing specifying the information required.
We operate a very strict policy with regard to confidential information. You must not breach this by disclosing information except for that which is necessary in the course of your duties.
This information includes, but is not limited to:
● Marketing and sales policies or information;
● Pricing information;
● Customer, client, supplier (whether current or potential) information;
● Colleague information;
● Accounts information; and
● Technical information.
PROTECTED DISCLOSURE OR “WHISTLE BLOWING” POLICY
We are committed to ensuring a culture of openness and accountability in which abuse, theft, fraud or other misconduct within our business by any employee is recognised and reported and dealt with accordingly.
You are encouraged to express any concerns you may have and we will respect any request you may make to preserve confidentiality as far as possible. If you raise concerns that are in the public interest, you will be protected from reprisals or victimisation.
If you have concerns about possible abuse, breach of health and safety, theft, fraud, or any other misconduct, you should bring the matter to the attention of your Line Manager.
Further information about our whistle blowing policy can be found in the individual policy document governing whistle blowing.
RECEIPT OF EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
I hereby confirm I have received, read, understood and agree to my Employee Handbook.
Name (Print) ……………………………………..
* Please return this to your Line Manager.
Disclaimer: The recommendations should only be used as guidelines. Please only select the portions that apply to your company. Neither the author nor joinair.com will assume legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided in whole or in part within this article.
This template is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and should be considered a starting point for setting up your employment policies.
Throughout, ensure that you alter the red text to fit your company.