Don’t let your HR handbook gather cobwebs…an update can banish any lurking horrors

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If you haven’t updated your terms & conditions in the last 12 months, you may be in for a fright

Our 2016 HR Barometer surveyed HR professionals about their biggest challenges. One of the top five ‘time wasters’ identified was updating handbooks and policies. Instead, 77% of those surveyed wanted to spend more time on supporting strategic business activities.

With Hallowe’en around the corner, our HR and employment law experts dig up some of the most common outdated employee handbook dangers.

1.    Family friendly policies
The ever expanding list of issues that must be addressed by family-related policies includes issues of shared parental leave, paternity leave and parental leave. In the last 18 months there have been significant legislative changes in this area.

We regularly update our members with e-lerts on major case law and legislative changes (such as the childcare voucher ruling earlier this year, but those who have not followed this news carefully may find their policies need a refresh.

Not sure if your HR handbook needs to be raised from the dead? Give us a call at 08081685874

2.    Equality & diversity policies
Although there have been no significant changes in recent months, you would be surprised how often our consultants come across HR handbooks that fail to meet the requirements of the 2010 Equality Act. For example, policies should address all “protected characteristics”, including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sex.

dusty-book

3.    Attendance management policy
An Absence Management policy provides a fair and consistent framework for supporting staff that are absent due to sickness. Some handbooks are woefully inadequate when it comes to dealing with attendance issues.

A strong policy covers everything from notification of an absence (by employee and manager) and keeping in contact while away to medical reports to Fit for Work rules. Certain rules have changed in the past year (such as holiday carryover due to sickness absence), so ensure these policies are up to date.

 

An Absence Management policy provides a fair and consistent framework for supporting staff that are absent due to sickness. Some handbooks are woefully inadequate when it comes to dealing with attendance issues.

A strong policy covers everything from notification of an absence (by employee and manager) and keeping in contact while away to medical reports to Fit for Work rules. Certain rules have changed in the past year (such as holiday carryover due to sickness absence), so ensure these policies are up to date.

 

How to exorcise handbook demons

Given the complexity of today’s ever changing employment law, it’s no wonder HR managers get spooked by the task of keeping their handbook up-to-date. However, with the stakes for violation of best practice so high (from lawsuits to fines), HR managers would be wise to call in an HR and employment law expert.

One option is to have an expert consultant come in to look over the terms and conditions and policies to ensure compliance with the latest case law and legislation.

Another option is an HR and employment law support service that is on call for questions and assistance throughout the year. This option also ensures HR professionals can focus on high-value, strategic work while being assured they are compliant.

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