Lavelle Partners can assist your business or organisation on any aspect of staff handbooks, policies, and procedures. These documents are vital to the smooth running of your operation, ensuring that all employees have a common understanding of how your business operates in a manner that conforms with employment law. We frequently encounter businesses who have failed to invest appropriately in these areas, and as a result, have inadvertently breached the law. This not only puts employees at risk of injury, overwork, bullying and harassment, but it also places the business at risk of data protection, equality and other types of breaches.
What is a staff handbook?
Employee handbooks play a vital role in communicating company policies and procedures, terms and conditions, and information on leave and benefits. The handbook should be updated regularly, located in a central location, and be made available to all employees. In doing so, any updates or revisions can be seen by all staff.
The content of staff handbooks is not set in stone, but will typically include:
- The company vision/mission/ethos
- Information on employment records you hold and associated data protection
- Company policies and procedures (this may reference separate documents for each policy and procedure), including
- Disciplinary procedures
- Grievance and dispute procedures
- Bullying and harassment procedures
- Complaints procedures
- Health and safety policies
- Equality policy
- Smoking policy
- Overtime policy
- Social media policy
- Terms and conditions, including:
- Hours of work
- Lunch periods and breaks
- Absence reporting
- Hygiene expectations
- Alcohol and drugs
- Use of internet, mobile phones and email during work time
- Resignation and termination, including notice periods
- Leave and benefits
- Annual leave
- Compassionate leave
- Maternity leave
- Paternity leave
- Parental leave
- Force Majeure leave (if time off is needed for urgent family or other matters)
- Carers leave
- Adoptive leave
- Jury duty
- Pension policies and plans
- Training and professional development
The objective of the staff handbook is to be the ‘go to’ reference for all employment-related information and is a ‘living document’ which evolves as the business develops.
Is a staff handbook a legal requirement in Ireland?
Under current employment legislation, all employees must have received a copy of and signed that they have read the company disciplinary procedure and grievance processes (typically contained in a staff handbook), but the whole staff handbook is not a legal requirement.
Who should be responsible for the staff handbook?
Staff handbooks must be written by HR professionals with enough knowledge of all areas of employment law covered within the documents. They should also update the handbook regularly as the business changes, or legal requirements evolve. It is also important that the document and its accompanying policies and procedures are tailored to your business operation, not merely a standard publication.
How Lavelle’s employment law Solicitors can assist you
- At Lavelle Partners, our employment law Solicitors, headed by Senior Partner, Marc Fitzgibbon have drafted staff handbooks for many small, medium and large enterprises across Ireland and in Dublin over the past 30 years, and can assist your organisation to do the same in a timely and legally precise manner. Whether you need guidance, or a completely new staff handbook, our team can help you.
- Marc is a former member of the Law Society of Ireland’s Employment & Equality Law Committee and European Employment Lawyers Association.
- We understand the need to ensure staff handbooks, policies and procedures are drafted fully in-line with the law, thereby protecting your business or organisation from the threat of a claim or reputational damage.
Our Solicitors will work alongside your in-house or external HR team, ensuring that your staff handbook is drafted with the minimum of demands on your resources.
Our partnership with Talbot Pierce
Lavelle Partners work with Talbot Pierce to provide a seamless service in respect of Human Resource Management. Talbot Pierce are a team of specialist HR professionals who work with us on a range of matters including advice on and delivery of conflict/dispute resolution solutions, best-practice HR strategies, policies and procedures.
If you are an employer based in Ireland and require guidance relating to staff handbooks, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800*.
*Please note that fees apply to all consultations and advice cannot be given free of charge.