Why have a staff handbook?
A handbook serves a number of important practical purposes:
- It acts as a guide for employees to all an employer’s important employment practices. One document contains much of what employees need to know about their relationship with their employer.
- A handbook can be updated to ensure an employer complies with the latest legal requirements and obligations in relation to employees – for example, flexible working, maternity, paternity and parental leave requirements and the Equality Act 2010. It is an important part of risk management.
- It gives clear guidance to managers on almost all of the issues they will encounter. Following this guidance will ensure consistency of practice and avoid allegations of unfairness and is again part of a risk management strategy.
- A handbook allows the employer to include the policies it needs in order to manage its business and to address any issues of particular concern which may give rise to a claim – for example, internet abuse, monitoring communications, discrimination and equal opportunities and data protection.
- The handbook can be a flexible document which can be amended and changed to suit the changing requirements of a business.