Why you need an Employee Handbook in your Day Nursery, Pre-school or Out of School Club
Once the preserve of bigger businesses, it is now widely recognised that all sizes of organisation benefit from having a well written Employee Handbook.
Yet, we often speak to new clients and prospects who tell us that despite their growth that they have ‘never got around to’ implementing an Employee Handbook.
We get it developing an employee handbook is one of those jobs, that gets put off and off. It feels like a Herculean task doesn’t it? But we also believe that you know that your future self will thank you if you get this done, right?
An Employee Handbook works tirelessly in the background for the employer.
They can be used to inform an employee about performance and conduct expectations and provide the employer with good evidence that someone has been made aware of that certain behaviours could lead to disciplinary action or even dismissal.
By demonstrating that the Employee Handbook has been designed and issued to all employees, employers can evidence their ‘reasonable behaviour’ towards those they employ
What is an Employee Handbook?
The Employee Handbook is a written collection and summary of an employer’s policies, procedures and practices.
It sets out how you approach statutory rights, explaining your sickness absence and holiday policy and provides further information on your terms and conditions.
Your Employee Handbook is where you outline your internal procedures, from disposal of waste, to confidentiality. It houses your employment policies such as grievance, social media and discipline. It gives the employee information when they have questions.
Here at Redwing our Employee Handbooks are around 60 pages and are divided into four sections;
- Terms and Conditions
- Employment Policies
The Employer’s Voice
Its important to have an Employee Handbook that’s written in the employer’s voice. An Employee Handbook can set out your ethos, your values and how you want the employment relationship to exist. Its also one of the first documents your new starters will read.
Handbooks are designed to answer an employee’s questions; therefore we believe that they are often best written in the ‘first’ person.
Employee Handbooks should be made accessible to all employees. They can be printed and issued as individual copies, emailed to employees or saved to shared files. An alternative that some very small employers use is to print and place into folders, two copies, one for the staff room and one for the Manager’s office. Then anyone can access the Employee Handbook at any time without having to ask to see it. Some of the content i.e. maternity benefits the employee should be able to review without asking to see the Company’s policy on maternity.
Every Employee Handbook should reflect the employer it has been written for, but there will be common areas included in an Employee Handbook
Seeing lots of Employee Handbooks, we often see ones that contain information on:
- Sickness Absence
- Holidays and Leave
- Maternity Benefits
- Paternity, Parental and Flexible Working
- Adoption Benefits
- Company Procedures
- Company Rules i.e. Dress Code, Disposal of Waste etc.
- Equal Opportunities, Whistleblowing, Bullying and Harassment.
- Drugs and Alcohol
- CCTV & Data Protection
- Discipline and Grievances
- No Smoking Policies.
- IT and Computer Policies
- Driving at Work
Why have one?
Here’s our top reasons why your Day Nursery, Pre-school or Out of School Club needs an Employee Handbook.
1. It communicates your expectations
A well-written handbook provides employees with a clear understanding of the working relationship and emphasises the organisation’s expectations. It informs employees about:
- The procedures for reporting sickness absence, who to contact and when.
- Your expectations regarding employee behaviour, dress code
The Employee Handbook also serves as an extension of the organisation’s policies and procedures. By providing clear, accessible information, handbooks ensure that everyone knows exactly what’s required of them and allows employers to present their expectations in a comprehensible and consistent manner.
2. Ensure key company policies are clearly and consistently communicated
An Employee Handbook should accurately communicate your organisation’s policies regarding employment, conduct and behaviour, compensation, and other policies and procedures you follow.
Most importantly, managers can refer to the handbook when answering questions or making decisions and ensure their answers and actions are consistent with your policies and best practices.
3. It will describe the benefits you offer
The Employee Handbook is a great place to outline any employment benefits you have in place such as subsidised childcare.
4. It’s so useful for your Managers
It’s much easier for a Manager to follow an employment policy if it’s in the Employee Handbook. This ensures that matters are dealt with consistently. This is major requirement of employment law.
5. It helps the employer to defend against employee claims at Employment Tribunal.
One of the most useful documents you can provide to defend yourself in an employment tribunal will be the Employee Handbook. Its ‘beefiness’ shows the Tribunal how you approach things and what a reasonable employer you are.
If an employer chooses not to have an Employee Handbook there is a risk that employee’s will say they didn’t know, couldn’t have known or haven’t been made aware. This makes an employer very uncomfortable. The real value in the Employee Handbook is the knowledge that it is outlined in the handbook and if the employee or employer needs to refer to it, it will be there in plain English for all to see.
Having an Employee Handbook will avoid a lot of time being wasted, it avoids inconsistencies in the way people are treated and reduces the employer’s stress.
To find out more about how Redwing can help you with an Employee Handbook for your Day Nursery, Pre-school or Out of School Club please call 01527 909436.