A. EMPLOYER POLICY REQUIREMENTS
Businesses that employ staff in the UK must implement the following written employment policies:
- disciplinary and grievance procedures: all employers must follow the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures and must provide details of the procedures they have in place
- businesses employing five or more people must have a health and safety policy
Businesses operating in regulated sectors may be required to have additional policies in place.
A business may decide to introduce other policies as well, either at the outset or as the business grows, but whether it does so and what these policies are will depend on the nature and scale of the business. These additional policies may help employees understand what is expected of them, as well as creating a culture where issues are dealt with fairly and consistently, thereby mitigating the risk of legal liability. This may include the following policies, amongst others:
- equal opportunities and discrimination policy, setting out a commitment to equal opportunities and diversity
- harassment and bullying policies, covering minimum standards of behaviour
- whistleblowing policy
- data protection and data security policy
- anti-bribery and corruption policy to help demonstrate compliance with bribery legislation
- sickness absence policy, dealing with sickness reporting, long-term absence and sick pay
- holiday policy, covering sickness absence during periods of leave
- policies on communications and use of company equipment, to cover employees’ use of work computers and telephones, and the internet, social media, etc
- policies on pregnancy and family friendly leave entitlements as well as a flexible working
- expenses policy, to cover the reimbursement of travel and other business expenses
- businesses with fewer than five employees should consider having a health and safety policy
B. EMPLOYEE TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
Employers must provide any health and safety training necessary to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees at work. This training is particularly important when employees start work, if they are exposed to new or increased risks, and if their existing skills need updating.
C. EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS
Employers are required by law to provide employees with a written statement containing particulars of employment not later than two months after their employment begins. The statement must include the terms and conditions of employment relating to pay (in relation to which there are minimum wage requirements), hours of work, holiday entitlement, notice period, pension and the disciplinary and grievance procedures in place, amongst other matters.
Employers have to ensure that workers in the UK, between the ages of 22 and state pension age, and earning over the income tax threshold in place at the relevant time, are automatically enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme to which the employer must contribute. The duty is being phased in according to the size of the employer and will not be fully in force until 2018.
Employers are required to have in place employer’s liability insurance against liability for bodily injury or disease sustained by employees and arising out of and in the course of their employment.
Employers have a duty to prevent illegal working in the UK by carrying out prescribed document checks on candidates before employing them to ensure they have the right to work in the UK. The checks should then be repeated in respect of those individuals who have time-limited permission to work in the UK prior to the expiry of their permission. Employers must keep a record of the checks they have carried out. There may be other employment checks that employers are required to carry out in some circumstances.
Clyde & Co can prepare bespoke employment contracts, policies and training materials tailored to your business. We can also provide advice about employers’ obligations in relation to auto-enrollment, employer’s liability insurance and preventing illegal working in the UK and other matters which should be considered when employing people in the UK.