9 HR policies all businesses should have

Posted On

January 22, 2023

Posted By

Kylie Thomas

Essentials to include in your employee handbook

Effective Human Resources (HR) policies are an essential part of any successful business.

Whilst it may be tempting to put off the task of preparing your HR policies and procedures, they’re vital to your business’s compliance and to the safety and wellbeing of workers.

Workplace injuries significantly impact workers and their families, and have significant cost impacts for businesses. Having clear HR policies in place protects employer and employee rights, establishes expectations for all employees and lays a solid foundation for engaged, motivated workers who stay with you. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the 9 HR policies all businesses should have in their employee handbook.

1. Code of conduct policy

The code of conduct outlines a company’s expectations of its employees in terms of behaviour and setting the standards of behaviour to establish a workplace that is safe and comfortable for everyone. The code of conduct typically addresses:

  • Dress code
  • Social media and mobile phone use
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Punctuality
  • Accepting gifts from suppliers or clients
  • Use of company property.

Establishing a clear code of conduct helps to prevent the issues and reputation damage that can arise from inappropriate behaviour and misconduct.

2. Work health and safety policy

An injury in the workplace is a major cost for businesses. Establishing an appropriate work health and safety policy supports consistency in decision making, and enables employers to defend themselves in the event of a dispute.

Your work health and safety policy needs to outline the safety procedures and responsibilities of all employees to keep themselves, and the workplace safe.

3. Leave policy

Access to leave and time away from work is not only a legal requirement, it also helps your team to stay happy, healthy and productive.

The leave policy outlines how long employees are allowed to be away from work, and how they go about requesting leave. Within your leave policy, include specific policies for each type of leave, including:

  • Annual leave
  • Sick leave
  • Public holidays
  • Parental leave
  • Community Service leave
  • Compassionate leave, and
  • Family and Domestic Violence leave.

4. Bullying, harassment and discrimination policy

Anti-discrimination laws are in place to protect everyone in the workplace, and prevent differential treatment of an individual based on their race, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

Bullying, harassment and discrimination policies cover a range of inappropriate workplace behaviours including sexual harassment, racial dscirimination, and more. To reduce the risk of bullying in the workplace, and to set the tone for a healthy workplace culture, it’s essential that all employees are guided by a clear and consistent policy that defines these expectations.

5. Remote work / working from home policy

With many employees still working at least part of their hours from home, it’s necessary to have a thorough remote work policy in place.

A remote work policy sets expectations for how an employee works, where an employee works, and when an employee works. Depending on your business and circumstances, this policy may need to include relevant procedures, such as how to request a home office allowance, or a checklist that confirms set-ups and obligations.

6. Performance counselling and discipline policy

Performance management is a challenging yet necessary practice for any business. When done well, it can foster a harmonious and productive working environment for everyone. The performance counselling and discipline policy assists with continued training and development for employees, issues with performance, and supports you in remaining compliant with the requirements of procedural fairness.

7. Internet, email and social media policies

With the increased use of technology in business, it’s important to establish clear and consistent boundaries around the acceptable use of the internet, email and social media.

These policies define appropriate and inappropriate usage, as well as the consequences for breaching the policy. These policies are an important way to protect the reputation of your business.

8. Workplace privacy and confidentiality policies

As an employer, you have a responsibility to safeguard the personal information of both employees and customers.

Businesses must have in place the appropriate privacy and confidentiality policies that clearly outline how private information is used and managed.

This includes how private information, such as employee health records, addresses, phone numbers and emails will be stored and safeguarded.

9. Termination of employment policy

In the unfortunate event that a termination of employment is required, or an employee decides to leave your business, it’s important to have a policy in place outlining how they are expected to give their notice, and the required notice period. This policy may also include a list of employee actions that may result in termination, and the steps that will be taken.

These are a few of the core HR policies all businesses should set up from day one. Other policies to check that you have in your employee handbook are: the driving and motor vehicle policy, grievance policy, drug and alcohol policy, working hours and overtime policy, recruitment policy and the workplace flexibility policy.

How can DreamStone HR help?

Knowing and understanding the policies your business needs is an essential part of business management. As this is a highly nuanced area of HR, we suggest connecting with an HR consultant to confirm you have legally covered all your bases. This is where the Dreamstone team can assist.

With substantial experience across all levels of HR we can provide valuable advice and support you to establish your core policies, providing the peace of mind that you’re covered.

Give our friendly team a call today (02) 8320 9320 or email info@dreamstonehr.com.au and let’s discuss your policies and procedures today!

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