What is employment/staff documentation?
In effect, employment documentation is anything that defines an employee’s duties or responsibilities and sets out any action taken by an employer. Such documentation will also explain an employer’s rational for any decisions made in relation to any particular employee. It is untimely evidence of communication between employers and employees.
Examples of such documentation are : -
- Job descriptions
- Contracts of employment
- Employee handbooks setting out policies and procedures
- Disciplinary and grievance procedures
- Performance management procedures
- Training records
- Minutes of meetings
- Records relating to medical disability issues.
Why is it important?
- Employees are one of the most important assets within a business. It is crucial that they are communicated with effectively. Employment documentation is an effective way of communicating an organisation's expectations, decision making processes and providing guidance to employees. It will also set out work rules, expected standards and employee benefits.
- Ensuring that such documentation are in place will allow a sound framework for an employer-employee relationship during employment as well as once the employment has come to an end.
- In addition when incidents, information and communications are documented employees are less likely to dispute them during their employment or thereafter. Furthermore, if an employee challenges any acts or omissions by an employer then the organisation will be in a much stronger position to defend itself.
- Organisations should have procedures in place to cover advertising and recruitment. You often see errors that could have easily been avoided being made by employers which result in discrimination claims from job applicants.
- Having appropriate job descriptions, skills matrixes and a recruitment policy will assist those drafting job adverts and carrying out recruitment interviews so that they don’t inadvertently discriminate against applicants or potential employees.
- It is crucial that contracts of employment are appropriately drafted for different categories of employees for example junior, senior and directors service agreements. Post termination restrictions can be included in the senior employee contracts whereas it would be entirely inappropriate to include anything for junior staff.
- Contracts of employment should be bespoke to your organisation and your workforce rather than a contract that you have borrowed from another organisation or downloaded from the internet. If these crucial documents are not tailored to your organisation it can at best cause confusion, at worst chaos if a dispute arises.
- In addition it is important to categorise your workers so that they are provided with the appropriate documentation. For example are they employees, independent contractors, consultants or apprentices? Each of these categories are governed by separate provisions and require entirely separate types of agreement. Failing to identify and differentiate between these categories could cause increased chances of tribunal claims and the possibility of defrauding the Inland Revenue in terms of PAYE etc.
- Policies and procedures and an Employee Handbook are also vital in today’s social media world. It is very easy for employees to bully and harass colleagues through a company’s social media internet and emails. Unless there are relevant policies in place covering internet use, use of social media, bullying and harassment as well as equal opportunities which clearly set out the company’s position and any consequences, the company is likely to be held liable for actions of its employees as if it had carried them out itself.