Can you make changes to the Staff Handbook

Can you make changes to the Staff Handbook

As an employer you have various obligations that you have to meet when it comes to your staff, and one of those is to ensure that you adhere to employment law legislation.

 

Employment legislation covers many topics, such as:

 

Maternity
Leave and pay in relation to pregnant staff and employees who are on maternity leave

Paternity
Leave and pay in regard to when a staff member’s partner has a baby

Sickness
What an employee is entitled to when they are absent from work because of illness

Holidays
The statutory entitlement per holiday year

Disciplinary
The guidelines you are expected to follow when faced with a disciplinary situation

Grievance
What an employee must do when they have a work based complaint

Capability
What you must do when you are managing an employee that is underperforming
Where is it that you should detail not only the employment legislation that you must adhere too but also your own company guidelines? It’s in the staff handbook – this is the ideal medium to be able to communicate to your staff what is expected of them and indeed what your staff can expect from you as their employer when faced with certain situations.
But as and when required can you change the policies within your staff handbook? The answer to this is yes. However there is a process that you need to follow to be able to do this in a fair and equitable manner. The first point that you should bear in mind when you want to change a policy is that as long as you provide for the statutory minimum then you can enhance policies that have a minimum obligation, such as:
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be enhanced to provide more generous payments to your staff when they are off work
ill, such as a set amount of sick days paid at their normal rate per year
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) can be enhanced so that staff on maternity leave receive more than the statutory payment rate
Holiday entitlement can be increased so that staff are able to take more than the specified amount in any
holiday year
Once you have decided on what the change is and that it meets at least the statutory minimum then you will need to amend the content of the policy to reflect the change (ensuring the policy and any changes are non-discriminatory). Most employment contracts will specify how much notice you need to give staff to communicate and start working to an amended or new policy (usually 30 days).
The staff handbook is an ongoing document that will change as time goes by in order to reflect the requirements and needs of the business. It should always be available to staff so that they can refer to it whenever they chose. This make take its form in a paper copy in the staff room or as an electronic copy on your staff intranet, but however your staff access their company handbook, ensure that you keep it up to date with not only your own company requirements, but also changes in employment legislation.

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