What policies should you include in your HR handbook?
Regardless of the size of your business, HR Manuals are important to ensure that your business meets its legal obligations and you support managers in your business to make consistent and reliable decisions regarding the operation of the business and its employees. HR policies minimise the risk of legal action from an employee and are essential to creating a working environment where all staff have a clear understanding of rules, expectations and consequences of expectations not being met. HR Manuals are also important in ensuring all employees are ‘on the same page’ with regards to business decisions such as dress codes and arrival times.
Some policies that are considered essential inclusions in an HR handbook would include:
• Equal Employment Opportunity
The Equal Opportunity Act (2010) was established to help the community identify and eliminate discrimination in the workplace. As there are different forms of discrimination (direct, indirect, sexual harassment and bullying), it’s important to list them so if employees do identify them occurring in the workplace, they are able to report them. It’s important that employees understand that your company does not accept any form of discrimination. Be sure to include policies related to EEO in your HR manual.
• Code of Conduct
A Code of Conduct clearly outlines the behaviour expected of individuals while at work and explains the likely outcomes if unacceptable behaviour is experienced. While you might not deem it necessary, there will be times when employee behaviour is unacceptable and it’s best to include policies detailing this in your handbook – it’s useful to draw on this when communicating with staff members.
• Workplace Health & Safety
Everyone in the workplace needs to understand the need for health and safety, what their role is in making the workplace safer, and how they can fulfil their responsibilities and duties. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 and associated regulations set out a legal framework for workplace health and safety. Specific sections of the Act apply to the development of policies and procedures.
Staff need to be aware of what information can and can’t be shared both within and outside of an organisation. The Australian Privacy Act (1988) and the Australian Privacy Principles, contained in the act, can be used as a guide for employers in the development of Privacy Policies for their businesses. The Australian Privacy Principles are based on how information is both collected and stored by businesses.
Should you require support developing HR policies for your business, speak to the HR Consulting team at Flexi Personnel.