See also “Terms and Conditions” – An employee handbook is a manual given to employees at the start of their employment. It outlines all the company’s policies and procedures in addition to supplementary conditions that govern the employment relationship. The employee handbook serves as a reference tool for employees to help them with everyday issues and can also prove very beneficial in helping an employee settle into their new role. An employee handbook may contain a myriad of rules, policies and procedures and normally includes details in respect of the background of the company, the company disciplinary and grievance procedures, policies on bullying and harassment, in addition to company policies in respect of sickness, annual leave and probationary periods.
It is advised that employers introduce employee handbooks that are customised and tailored to suit their own individual organisational requirements and culture. The importance of issuing an employee handbook cannot be underestimated as an employer can seek to rely on its terms when disciplining an employee for breaching stated company procedures and in addition to setting out a clear process for resolving workplace disputes. In addition, if the employer is including the company disciplinary procedure in their employee handbook then the handbook would need to be issued to all employees within 28 days of their employment commencing, as required by the Unfair Dismissal Acts. Lastly, if the employer wishes to make changes to any provision set out in the employee handbook then employees should be given an opportunity to read the new policy and also sign a form to state that they are aware of, and are agreeable to, the changes.