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A staff handbook, although not a legal requirement, is an important dcoument that HR teams/employers can refer to if an employee has questions regarding their position or wishes to raise a grievance. This article explains what a staff handbook is and the type of information you can include.

What is a staff handbook?

A staff handbook (also known as an employee handbook) is a document that supports your organisation’s contract of employment. It contains policies, procedures, and practices bespoke to your business and provides additional information concerning certain employment contract terms such as holiday pay, parental and maternity leave, and disciplinary procedures, to name but a few.

A staff handbook can be drafted to include information for all team members including employees, workers, apprentices, and agency staff.

Your staff handbook will ensure that the history, culture, values, and expectations concerning staff are collated in one place and accessible to everyone working in your business.

Is a staff handbook contractual?

A staff handbook can be contractual or non-contractual. Most employers prefer the non-contractual option as it allows for greater flexibility as any changes made will not require the agreement of relevant employees or their representatives. It is imperative, however, to seek legal advice on whether or not certain elements of your staff handbook have become contractual through express or implied incorporation. Our employment law solicitors can regularly review your staff handbook to ensure its contents retain their original legal intention.


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What information should be in a staff handbook?

A staff handbook can include information on:

  • The history and values of your business
  • How holiday entitlement is calculated, carried over, and dealt with when an employee resigns
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures (these must be fully compliant with the Acas Code)
  • Health and safety policies and procedures
  • Anti-bullying and harassment policies and procedures
  • Social media and internet policies
  • Working from home and flexible working policies

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A staff handbook provides employers with a tool to communicate company policies and expectations in a way that is flexible enough not to invite a breach of contract claim if what is recorded in the handbook is not always complied with. 

To ensure your staff handbook is legally compliant and non-contractual (if that is your intention), please contact our experienced employment lawyers today. We can provide you with a free 15 minute consultation, just click ‘Get started’ below.


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In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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