5 Essential Employment Documents Your Business Needs
There are plenty of kinds of business documents that a company needs to conform with the law and help it to run more smoothly, and employment is one of the most important areas where you should make sure that your paperwork is up to scratch As any HR manager will tell you, dealing with the myriad demands and concerns of your employees can be like navigating a legal minefield ? high quality, reliable documents can be invaluable in helping you deal constructively with personnelThere are plenty of kinds of business documents that a company needs to conform with the law and help it to run more smoothly, and employment is one of the most important areas where you should make sure that your paperwork is up to scratch. As any HR manager will tell you, dealing with the myriad demands and concerns of your employees can be like navigating a legal minefield ? high quality, reliable documents can be invaluable in helping you deal constructively with personnel. Many employers settle for just having good quality employment contracts, but there are many additional areas where employment documents can help your business?
Naturally, the most important employment document is the employment contract. These need to be comprehensive, covering all the significant areas (such as a detailed outline of the position, holiday allowance, notice period, prohibited behaviour and any applicable confidentiality agreements). You may need a wide variety of employment contracts ? depending on the nature of your business.
In an increasingly litigious society, employers have to be very careful when they handle disciplinary and dismissal issues. Written warnings and dismissal documents need to be carefully phrased, and your disciplinary procedure needs to follow the letter of the law ? if you don?t have the right business documents or your company deviates from legal procedure you could face an employment tribunal for wrongful dismissal.
It is now recommended for all UK businesses to have a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy, outlining what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, the methods the company is using to combat discrimination, and the official procedure for employee complaints. This business document is typically included as part of the employee handbook, and needs to cover discrimination on age, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity and disability.
Maternity and Paternity Policy
Your business needs to have an up to date policy on maternity and paternity leave, outlining the conditions concerning the length of leave (26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave or 52 weeks with Additional Maternity Leave), the renumeration that is offered (this must conform with the requirements of Statutory Maternity Pay), the rights of an employee to return to a job at an equal or higher level after maternity/paternity leave is concluded. This is potentially a very sensitive area ? make sure your business is equipped to handle it.
Sickness and Absence Policy
UK businesses lose over ?13 billion each year to staff sickness and absence, and many companies struggle with a culture of absenteeism that costs them heavily. A written policy concerning sickness and absence can be a crucial business document that helps to prevent this problem, outlining actions that will be taken if repeated sick days are taken. This solves a two fold problem, by providing a framework of support to people who are taking time off for genuine reasons and discouraging people from taking needless sick days.
Just remember, with all of these documents it is important to keep up to speed on the latest legal developments. Employment law is constantly evolving, and missing out on important updates can be disastrous!
Iain Mackintosh is the Managing Director of Simply-Docs. The firm provides over 1100 UK documents covering all aspects of business from holiday entitlement to employment contracts. By providing these legal documents (with content provided by leading commercial lawyers, HR and health & safety consultants) at an affordable price, the company intends to help small businesses avoid costly breaches of regulation and legal action.