Your guide to writing a clear Employee Handbook


As an employer, it is vital that your employees are aware of your organisation’s policies and procedures.

An up to date employee handbook sets out policies and procedures adopted by the business and in doing so provides employees with easy access to important information and details of the organisation’s rules and standards.

What does the law say about Employee Handbooks?

Although an employee handbook is not itself a legal requirement, if you have 5 or more employees, it is a legal requirement to have a written health and safety policy.

All employers should also have written disciplinary and grievance procedures as recommended and set out ACAS’s code of practice for these procedures.

The benefits of an Employee Handbook

An employee handbook clearly communicates to employees your expectations in terms of their behaviour and what is and what is not acceptable, enabling managers to effectively manage. It also alerts employees to the consequences of breaching the rules, hopefully deterring misconduct.

An employee handbook can provide a reference point for the business and its managers on how they need to act to remain within the law when dealing with an employer’s legal obligations and the various day to day issues which arise in the workplace.

It also promotes consistency and fairness; by ensuring managers follow the same laid out policy or procedure, preventing them from handling similar cases differently. Adopting one standard for everyone means that there is a consistency in approach and fairness, as a result, there is less likelihood of claims for discrimination.

Could your handbook protect you against Employment Tribunal claims?

Having clear and robust policies and procedures in place can prevent costly procedural mistakes being made by managers. Any mistakes which make the process unfair can place you at risk of a claim from an employee and subsequently an adverse judgment against you.

A legally compliant handbook can provide an essential piece of evidence towards demonstrating your business is aware of its legal obligations and the rights of its employees within the workplace, in the event you have to defend a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

It can also increase the chances of you successfully defending a claim, by supporting your contention that the business acted lawfully in that it rigorously followed a legally compliant and well-written procedure or policy.

Why instruct a solicitor to review your employee handbook?

Employment law is a very dynamic area of law, which is constantly changing through statute and case law. By instructing a specialist employment solicitor at Farnworth Rose who can review, update then add to your current policies, you can be confident that you have the right policies in place offering the protection you need – allowing you to focus on running your business.

Employee handbooks can be wide-ranging, however, we advise that as a basic minimum your handbook should include the following:

  • Equality/Maternity Policies
  • Performance Management Policy
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
  • Whistleblowing Policy
  • Absence Management Policy
  • Bribery Policy
  • Internet/Social Media Policies
  • Expenses Policy
  • Anti-Slavery Policy
  • Health & Safety Policy (a legal requirement)

Talk to the experts at Farnworth Rose

Defending an employment tribunal claim can be extremely costly and time-consuming, so why take the risk of failing to have the correct documentation in place?

For a review of your employment policies with an experienced solicitor in Nelson, call Farnworth Rose today on 01282 695 400.

Or alternatively, you can book a call at a time that suits you by completing our quick online contact form here.