Business Doctor is Peter Dones weekly column; sharing employment law advice.
DS writes: I am starting my own business, which will have nine employees, most of them friends and family. Do I still need to have HR policies and procedures?
Even though you are employing friends and family you must still have HR policies. You need watertight procedures to deter disputes and lawsuits, writes PeterDone, managing director of Peninsula.
You must issue a written statement of employment particulars within two months of an employee’s start date. It should include a minimum amount of information, prescribed by law, including the person’s name, job title or a description of work and start date; salary details including when the employee will be paid; holiday entitlement; notice periods and disciplinary and appeal procedures.
This list is not exhaustive. You will no doubt want to have other policies in place that are not prescribed by law but will help you and your employees have a good relationship.
You may, at some point, wish to change the contract of employment. In this case, you and the employee will both need to agree to the changes, unless they are required by law. This may mean a formal consultation if your employees are not immediately agreeable to the changes. Written notice of the changes should be made one month ahead of them being implemented.
It is advisable to include your policies and procedures in an employee handbook. The most important regulations to include are: holiday entitlement and conditions; sickness/injury payment and conditions; disciplinary rules and procedures; capability procedures; disciplinary appeal procedure; grievance procedure and a personal harassment policy.
Each company, and set of management, is different, so while these are the basic areas you would be advised to cover, there may be additional terms to include to safeguard both parties in the event of a dispute.