Top 10 HR Policies Employers Must Have
Among the nearly limitless range of policies that should be contained in an employee handbook, 10 are especially important:
1. Anti-Harassment Policy
The list starts with an anti-harassment policy that specifically and clearly bans psychological harassment of all forms in the workplace, including sex harassment, bullying, etc., setting out a complaint resolution process and defining the range of disciplinary measures for violations, up to and including termination.
3. Computer & Internet Use Policy
Every employer needs a computer use policy governing employees’ use of technology in the workplace, including e mail use, internet usage and information security, including company access to computer hard drives, e mails, etc. to monitor compliance.
4. Termination Notice Policy
To protect against court actions for wrongful dismissal, every employer must have (and abide by) a policy setting out the termination notice and/or pay formula for employees that meets the applicable statutory employment standards for notice of termination (or pay in lieu).
5. Progressive Discipline Policy
You must have a progressive discipline or other policy setting out the process to be followed in response to employee misconduct and explaining how you respond to instances of misconduct and specifically identifying the escalating disciplinary measures which you may impose.
6. Work Attendance Policy
It’s vital to have an attendance policy setting out the employee’s basic obligation to attend work as scheduled and describing how excessive levels of absenteeism will be handled.
7. Overtime Policy
It’s essential to have an overtime policy establishing overtime rates, strictly controlling the circumstances in which overtime may be worked and laying out the process for obtaining prior approval to work overtime—all of which must be consistent with employment standards requirements of your province (or the Canada Labour Code if you’re federally regulated).
8. Workplace Impairment Policy
Employers (especially those in safety-sensitive settings) should have a policy addressing workplace impairment, banning possession and use of intoxicants, including prescribed medications, which might cause impairment without prior approval and, if necessary, setting out a procedure for drug and/or alcohol testing.
9. Conflict of Interest Policy
All employers should have a conflict of interest policy banning employees from engaging in conduct that creates a conflict of interest, defining such a conflict broadly to include any means by which an employee might inappropriately gain a personal benefit by taking advantage of the employment relationship and clearly stating the disciplinary measures for violations.
10. Workplace Health & Safety Policy
Finally, every employer should have a workplace health and safety policy to ensure employees are informed of their rights and obligations relating to workplace safety issues, e.g., the employee’s obligations to: take reasonable care in the workplace; carry out their work in accordance with established safe work procedures and occupational health and safety regulations; use and wear the required protective equipment; not engage in horseplay; not be impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants; and promptly report any circumstances which pose a safety risk.
These 10 policies, if implemented properly, will form the core of an effective employee manual. Clicking on the hyperlinks will enable you to access materials in HR Compliance Insider that explain how to write the policy along with a Model of that particular policy that you can adapt to your own circumstances.
Robert Smithson is a labour and employment lawyer who has his own practice, Smithson Employment Law Corporation, in Kelowna, BC. http://www.smithsonlaw.ca/ , 778-478-0150