Q: During the first lockdown my wife and I started our own business after I was made redundant. We went from strength to strength, taking on other people at the start of this year to cope with the increasing demand for our products. Now we are ready to take a much bigger step, move into business premises, go into full production and take on more staff. Whilst we put a few basic workplace policies and procedures in place, these will now need to be reviewed and updated. Are there any guidelines as to how this should be done?
A: Policies and procedures need to be reviewed on a regular basis, whether you are expanding your business or not, as employment legislation is one of the fastest changing areas of law. As well as reflecting current legislation, your policies and procedures should be specifically tailored to reflect your particular business activities and the employees you engage. Keeping things as simple as possible whilst covering all legislative requirements to protect both yourselves and your staff is key, as making the ‘rule book’ unnecessary complex could mean workers falling foul of the rules because they don’t understand them.
Providing all your workers with a Handbook setting out your policies and procedures is a good way of ensuring they have to hand everything that they need to know. It will also make it easier for you to review and update the content on an annual basis. Check, in writing, that they have read and understood everything. If necessary, provide training alongside to assist their understanding. Finally, review their performance regularly to ensure they are compliant with what is required of them, otherwise you will have no redress if something goes badly wrong further down the line. An employment solicitor can advise you on what you need to include and ensure your documents are watertight.
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