Contracts and Policies

January 16, 2009

I have to admit, that until I moved into a generalist HR position a number of years ago, I had never read a contract of employment. I’d signed a few and maybe even checked that it was for the same amount of money that I had agreed to accept, but the rest was all just a load of words as far as I was concerned.

Even now I still don’t think it’s such a bad thing for an employee not to be bothered to read their contract… just so long as they have one. I’m forever shocked by the amount of companies that do not have contracts of employment drawn up for their staff. Not only is there a legal obligation, it can also make life a lot easier if a conflict arises with an employee. If there is a bit of paper laying what the employee is entitled to and what their responsibilities are which, by signing, they have agreed to, it gives the employer more clout when sorting out the conflict.

The same goes for policies and procedures. These are the rules the employer wishes their staff to adhere to, be it what they should do if they have a gripe about their boss, what to do if they are sick, to whether they can book their summer holiday on line during their lunch hour. Even where companies have these, they can be hidden away, getting dusty on a shelf in an office with a workforce being completely unaware of their existence.  This can also lead to trouble for the company,  it’s difficult to enforce rules that people aren’t aware of and at the extreme, it’s hard to justify a dismissal to a tribunal if the employee didn’t know they were doing wrong.

It can seem yet another pile of beaurocratic red tape, yet it is not too difficult to put together policies and procedures. The internet can provide basic rules and can even let you download contracts of employment. Of course companies like Resource First can provide this service  and help you introduce it to your staff, presenting the information in a way that suits your business. Even your solicitor would provide much of the information you need.