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Do you have a HR policy in place?

Posted in Employers on Nov 01, 2017 by Keeley Edge

Although most businesses have a basic understanding of HR, many still do not have a documented HR policy or even basic HR systems and processes in place. A HR policy does not have to be complex, but you should have one in your company to protect both yourself and your employees.

Having a HR policy sets the standards for employees and prevents any confusion. If you make it clear what is expected, what is considered unacceptable and what the consequences of non-adherence will be, then you can manage performance more effectively. When a new employee joins your company, they should be informed of the HR processes so they can act accordingly.

Documented procedures protect your business. A proper employment contract and evidence of procedures being followed will help support your case if there is ever a dispute.


Areas to be covered in your policy

Depending on the size of your company, your policy may be quite straightforward or extremely comprehensive. Even if you only have a small team, you should put in place policies to cover the following areas. As your business grows you will already have procedures in place and these can be updated as required:

New starters

What is your process for taking on a new employee? When you make the offer, will it be subject to conditions? Have you agreed on a start date and will you honour any pre-booked holidays?

You will need proper contracts of employment detailing the terms, salary and other important information. This should be signed by both yourself and the employee. You should also issue a formal job description so that the employee knows what the expectations of the role are.

There will be certain data you need to collect such as a national insurance number and bank details for payroll purposes, as well as emergency contacts for your reference. Put together a new starter form to collect all the information you need every time you employ someone new.

Payroll and pensions

What are your processes for payroll?

If employees get paid by the hour, what is the system for submitting time sheets and who do they submit these to? What is the procedure for working overtime?

When will payslips be issued and when will payments be made? Who should the employees contact if there are any issues with their pay?

Are there any commission structures or bonus schemes in place? What are the terms for these and when will they be paid?

You should also have an auto-enrolment pension scheme in place. You need to give employees the details of this and ensure pension payments are being paid correctly.

Working hours

Your employment contracts should detail the hours of work and all employees should understand exactly what the expectations are.

Will the hours of work be set each week, or will it work on a rota basis? If the hours change each week, how far in advance will rotas be set?

Do you offer flexi-time options or do employees have to be on site between certain times? Can employees choose their hours of work providing they work a set number of hours each week? How do they report this?

Are there scheduled times for lunch and tea breaks or can employees choose their own break times to fit around their workload? Do they have to let people know when they plan on taking breaks?

Company standards and policies

Do you have a dress code or uniform? If you do, then you need to outline this and ensure all employees understand the guidelines.

A social media policy should be in place detailing what employees can and can’t share about the company on their personal pages and what guidelines are in place for company pages. This protects your company reputation and brand.

Depending on the nature of your business, there may be other set standards and guidelines for conduct at work, on site or when representing the company at external events. Ensure that these are documented.         


Training and development should be ongoing but you will need an outline of what compulsory training is required. How long will the initial period of training last and what will be covered? Keep records of what training has been completed and make sure that employees have access to information on systems, processes and policies.  


What is the policy for reporting sickness? Do employees have to call a specific person or do they contact their line manager? How often do they have to provide updates? Can they self-certify and for how long? Will they get paid for any periods of sickness and what are the terms? Will you conduct home visits?

After an employee has been off sick, you should complete a return to work interview and keep a record on file. This should outline the nature of the sickness, period of absence and any other relevant details.


Holiday allowance should be detailed in the contract of employment but there are things to consider around holiday.

Do employees have to take holidays at set times? For example, your business may close for two weeks over Christmas meaning holiday has to be taken during this period.

If you operate over bank holidays, are employees obliged to work or is it optional? Will they be paid extra or given additional holiday?

Are there restrictions on when employees can take holiday such as inside school term time or in the lead up to Christmas? Can employees take holiday at the same time as other employees? How many people can be on holiday at one time?

What is the process for booking holiday? How much notice must be given? Who can approve holiday and how long will they take to approve? What if holiday is not approved?

Planned absence and mitigating circumstances

As well as holiday and sickness, you should put policies in place for other types of absence including:

  • Maternity
  • Paternity
  • Adoption
  • Planned operations
  • Bereavement
  • Funerals
  • Medical appointments
  • Childcare issues

What allowances will you make? What will be paid and what will be unpaid leave?

Accidents at work

Who is responsible for health and safety, who are the trained first aiders and what is the procedure for reporting accidents in the workplace?


All employees should understand the company structure and who reports to who. Employees need to know who to report a grievance to. Is there a dedicated HR person or do they report to their line manager? If their grievance is with their line manager, who do they report to? What are the processes for reporting a grievance?


You should have a set procedure for disciplinaries. What will trigger different stages of the process? What will each stage involve? Who will be present at formal disciplinary meetings (line manager, HR manager or someone else)?

Notice periods

What notice period will employees have to work if they decide to leave the company? What notice will you give an employee? Will this differ depending on the length of time they have been working in your company?

Updating your policy

It is important that you check your policy regularly to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the business and remains legal. If there are changes to employment law, then your policy must be changed to reflect this.

If you make any amendments to your policy, then you must let your employees know. Employees should be able to access the policy easily. This could be online or in the form of a staff handbook.

HR support

If you don’t have a dedicated HR department, then you can get external HR support.

At Key Appointments, we work closely with some exceptional HR consultants and companies who can advise you on all areas of your HR. Whether you need help drawing up employment contracts, want to create a staff handbook or just need advice on a HR matter, we can connect you with the right person.

Contact us today to be put in touch with one of our trusted partners, or if you have any recruitment requirements.




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