Certain documentation is a legal requirement, whether you have 500 employees or 1. Employers must provide a written statement of terms and conditions within 2 months of an employee starting, and have a disciplinary and grievance procedure. However, there are other reasons why every employer should have good contracts, policies and rules in place:
- By having clear disciplinary rules, tailored to your business, you are able to avoid any misunderstandings about the sort of conduct which is and is not acceptable. Written disciplinary rules are your chance to make things clear from the start.
- If things do go wrong, disciplinary rules will make it easier for you to give a formal warning or dismiss without challenge along the lines of “I didn’t realise it wasn’t allowed”. If you are able to point to a clear rule which the employee has been made aware of, you will find the process more straight forward.
- Disciplinary and capability procedures help you act on concerns in a fair and consistent way. This reduces the risk of discrimination or unfair dismissal claims.
- A good equality policy will alert your employees to the different forms of discrimination and make clear that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated. This reduces the likelihood of discrimination occurring and improves your chance of defending a claim in the Tribunal.
- Policies which are relevant and useful to your business help you to keep everything on track and reduce the likelihood of problems arising. For example, for a business with a social media presence or employees who are active on personal social media platforms, a good social media policy will reduce the risk of inappropriate postings in the business’s name and make sure that staff keep personal postings to break times.
- Being able to provide new employees with your written procedures, rules and policies will give them confidence in you as an employer and in your business as a good place to work.
Claire Collinge, Workwise Legal