In response to customer feedback we have made some important changes:
- We have shortened employment contracts where we can
- As a result some of the HR policies have gained contractual effect – please ask for a template letter we suggest you send to employees
- We have included an ‘at a glance’ section of summaries of key policies
- We have removed certain non-core policies (still available from myHRdept)
- There is a new Shared Parental Leave policy
What do you need to do now?
1. Discard old HR policy manuals and replace with the new one
2. Unless you have our absence and holiday system (see below) notify your managers and employees & ensure managers are equipped to answer any immediate queries – see Q&A below.
3. Read at least these policies (and ensure your managers do the same): Equal Opportunities Statement; Alcohol & Drugs; Anti Bribery & Hospitality; Email & Internet; Data Protection & Confidentiality; Dignity at Work; Social Media.
As ever, if you have any issues arising under any policy included here, please let myHRdept know and we will be happy to advise on the process. We are in the process of updating all employment contracts – this will be completed by end January 2016. If you have a more urgent need to review your contract, please let myHRdept know.
Keep an eye out for our HR Briefings for Managers workshops where we will be explaining to people managers how to use the policies properly in the workplace.
If you have our ‘Breathe’ Absence and Holiday system* we will add a copy of your HR Policies to the Company Documents section and will, unless you say otherwise, send employees a notification to say that the HR policies are there (using the attached template.) This will be done on or about 1st October 2015.
*nb the system is an inexpensive add on to your existing HR services (from £9 pcm) and saves a lot of administration + allows efficient employee updates – for a demonstration please contact us.
If you have any questions about the new policy pack, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Managers Q&A (to answer any employee questions)
Why are employment contracts/policies changing?
Our HR suppliers myHRdept have been asked to shorten employment contracts and move detail contained in them into accompanying HR policies. In addition, the law is always changing and new policies have had to be drafted.
Why have some policies become ‘part of contracts’
Some of the detail has been removed from employment contracts and moved into relevant HR policies. Where it is regarded as sufficiently important detail the result is that certain parts of those policies must now be regarded as having contractual effect.
What does becoming a part of a contract actually mean?
It means that those parts of the policies are regarded as binding on the Company and employees. This differs to most HR policies which are for guidance only. An example of a binding policy would be the Equal Opportunities Statement. It is illegal to discriminate and so this policy has contractual effect – a breach of it could have serious consequences for the person committing that breach. Another example would be the parts of the Alcohol and Drugs policy that refers to people being under the influence at work – obviously that would be regarded as an extremely serious issue that could result in dismissal.
Will I get a new employment contract too?
In due course but not immediately. The old contracts are legally fine and from time to time we will issue amendments by way of side letter (like the one you have or will receive about the new HR policies) but the contracts themselves may not be replaced for a while.
Which policies have become part of contracts?
The whole of the Equal Opportunities Statement
Parts of the Alcohol and Drugs Policy
Parts of the Anti-Bribery and Hospitality Policy
Parts of the Email and Internet Access Policy
Parts of the Data Protection and Confidentiality Policy
Parts of the Dignity at Work Policy
Parts of the Social Media Policy
The introduction to each policy will describe which parts of the policy apply to employment contracts. The contractual parts will not necessarily apply to all employees day to day – if an employee does not use a computer for work for example, they are unlikely to be affected by the Email and Internet policy – but if their job changes in future, they may well be affected at that point.
Why have the old HR policies been replaced?
Partly because of legislative developments (e.g. the new shared parental leave regulations) partly because of developments in society (e.g. the widespread use of social media) and partly to reflect the changes in core employment contracts (which will become shorter.)
Why are HR policies important to me?
The policies explain how certain things will be dealt with. If an employee becomes pregnant for example they should read a copy of the maternity policy and the other family friendly policies that apply. If an employee feels they or someone else is being bullied or discriminated against, the Dignity at Work policy will set out how this should be approached.
If I want a copy of a particular policy, how to get one?
FOR CUSTOMERS WHO USE OUR ABSENCE AND HOLIDAY SOFTWARE: These will be soon available in the Company Documents section of the holiday booking software, or see your manager for a copy.
FOR CUSTOMERS WITHOUT ABSENCE AND HOLIDAY SOFTWARE: See your manager for a copy