Every business, especially those with employees, must have its own company policies in place. Company policies and procedures outline exactly how employees should conduct themselves and what they can expect from their employees in return. But what policies should a company have in the UK? Read on for IN Accountancy’s rundown of essential company policies.
Essential company policies
So, what company policies should a company have? By and large, it depends on the culture of the business, the wider industry it operates within, and the current legislative landscape. Whether or not to introduce a new company policy hinges on an ongoing evaluation and risk assessment process, followed by clear and timely communication. However, the following are essential company policies that most businesses should consider adopting.
Health and Safety Policy
In line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, it is the law that all businesses must have a health and safety policy. A health and safety policy is vital for minimising risks and workplace accidents. It must be written down for employers with five or more employees, but even for those with fewer, it can be helpful to have a written document. A company health and safety policy, and any changes, need to be shared with all employees.
Every company’s health and safety policy should cover the following three areas:
- Statement of intent – This section should outline the company’s commitment and aims for managing health and safety in the workplace. It should be signed by the employer and reviewed regularly.
- Responsibilities – This section should list the names, positions and roles of anyone in the business that has been given specific duties for maintaining health and safety within the workplace.
- Arrangements – This section should lay out the arrangements that have been put in place to help the company achieve its health and safety aims, such as implementing staff training or installing safety signs.
Even though a company-wide IT policy isn’t a legal necessity, the sheer volume of data handled by businesses today, and the extent to which employees and employers rely on technology to carry out their daily tasks, make IT policies essential company policies. With work and personal lives often deeply intertwined, it can be helpful to set clear guidelines for computer and internet usage and how customer data will be handled.
So what IT policies should a company have? The following company IT policy examples can either be drafted as standalone company policies or integrated into one overarching IT policy:
- Email and internet use policy – Provides a clear set of rules for acceptable email and internet usage to ensure employees use company time and network bandwidth solely for authorised purposes.
- Computer use policy – Similarly, a computer use policy outlines how an employee can and cannot use a company-owned computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone – including installing software.
- Social media policy – With the lines increasingly blurred between private and professional social media accounts, a social media policy helps to remind staff of their responsibilities towards the company.
- Data Protection Policy – All UK businesses are governed by UK GDPR laws and those that trade in the EU are also subject to EU GDPR rules. So it is essential to document how the company will process personal data.
Disciplinary and Grievance Policy
When it comes to knowing what HR policies a company should have, a Disciplinary and Grievance Policy has to be top of the list. This type of company policy is a legal requirement for all UK businesses. It should set out the company’s disciplinary process for employee performance and conduct. It should also illustrate the correct methods for staff to raise grievances. Disciplinary and grievance procedures should be conducted in line with the ACAS Code of Practice because employment tribunals consider the Code when reviewing cases.
Sickness and Paid Leave Policies
It is in the best interests of businesses (and their employees) to put sickness and paid leave policies in place to avoid any ambiguities that could otherwise lead to disputes further down the line. From day one, new staff members should be given guidance about organisational procedures governing sickness absence and claiming sick pay, permitted annual leave and how to book holidays, and rules around maternity, paternity and parental leave.
Flexible Working Policy
Any employee who has worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks (six months essentially) has a legal right to request flexible working. Employers are obliged to deal with requests in a “reasonable manner”, such as holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee and offering an appeal process. Outlining the company’s policy in such cases can help to ensure managers follow the correct procedures and that potential disputes and subsequent employment tribunals can be avoided.
There is much to consider when running a business, not least the fine details that make an organisation run smoothly. Documenting essential company policies and procedures helps employees and employers gain total clarity over their roles. Company policies provide a clear framework that enables personnel to discharge their duties to the best of their abilities and in accordance with the organisation’s expectations. They also play a crucial role in allowing employers to meet their various legal responsibilities and maintain a duty of care towards their workforce.
For more information about essential company policies, advice, quotations and help with your accountancy services for your business or to arrange a free consultation call, please get in touch with the IN Accountancy team today. Contact us on 0161 456 9666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org while we are not HR advisors, we are happy to introduce a specialist should you require support with your own company policies or staff handbook. We are here to support you!