An example of a staff handbook
A staff handbook starts with an introduction, targeted at your employee. In it, you explain the value that the company attaches to this document. You can also mention the most important company standards and values. It is recommended that you point out that the rules are compliant with current legislation and regulations. It is also advisable to state that the provisions in the handbook may change and that the employer is open to ideas and suggestions.
Here, you can provide a brief description of your company. What does the company supply and to which target group? What departments are there in the company? What is the organizational structure? The aim of this section is to provide new staff members with an impression of the company where they work.
Collective labor agreement
If a collective labor agreement (CAO) applies to your company, it is advisable to mention this in the staff handbook.
Working hours and
agreements during working hours
For some companies, it can be useful to include details of the working days, working hours and breaks in the staff handbook. Perhaps you have a helpdesk that needs to be fully staffed. Including working days, working hours and breaks has the advantage that staff can be challenged if they do not keep to them. After all, they are familiar with the working hours.
Here, you can include your policy on salaries. If you use salary scales or tables, these can be included in the staff handbook. You can provide an explanation and details of the guidelines. Make sure you apply your policy to the letter; otherwise you could end up creating resentment. You could also include details of when salary is paid and whether it is adjusted for inflation.
Every member of staff wants a salary increase. But it is up to the employer to determine if it is granted. Here, you state when you will award a salary increase and when not.
You include the rules relating to overtime here. Are the hours paid out or does the member of staff gain free time as compensation? If the hours are paid out, does the staff member receive more, less or the same per hour?
As the employer, you must do your best to allow your staff to take vacations when it suits them. This is not always possible. Not all staff can take vacations during the same weeks because this will jeopardize business operations. Occasionally, you will need to reject a vacation request. It is advisable to stipulate when a vacation request will be rejected. You can also stipulate that vacations are not possible in a specific busy period.
Generally, employees receive a vacation allowance in April, May or June, together with the salary for that month. It usually amounts to 8% of the annual salary. You should also include this in your staff handbook.
The law does not regulate leave for special occasions, such as weddings, births and funerals. You can include regulations for this in a staff handbook. You can also include a rule on public holidays. In some companies, staff have to work through Christmas.
You can specify in the staff handbook the pension scheme that applies in your company.
Regulations on travel to and from work
Are travel expenses reimbursed or not? If so, how does this happen? How much is the travel expenses payment?
Long service awards
Employees with a long service record are rewarded for their loyalty and dedication. Details of this can also be included in the regulations.
Code of conduct
It can be useful to include a code of conduct in the handbook, especially in a company that employs a lot of people. Clear rules can prevent disagreement and ambiguities about people's behavior. They also help you, as an employer, to address staff conduct. These rules can also be useful if you wish or need to dismiss an employee if he or she has not covered him- or herself in glory.
- Personal grooming;
- Clothing rules;
- Taking care of the workplace;
- The use of company property;
- Dealing with customers, external associates and colleagues;
- Standards of decency;
- Dealing with business gifts received by colleagues;
- Arranging private business during working hours;
- Inappropriate conduct;
- Relationships with customers or colleagues;
- Identifying and reporting inappropriate conduct;
- The consequences that apply in the event of a breach of the code of conduct.
Computer-related rules of conduct
These could include:
- Rules on the use of the internet and e-mail for private purposes during working hours;
- Downloading private files;
- Adjusting standard computer settings;
- Rules on setting an automatic e-mail reply during absence;
- The use of social media during working hours;
- The use of social media on issues relating to the company;
- Rules concerning data leaks.
Rules on health and safety
Depending on the work and the environment in which the work is done, you may wish to compile a safety protocol. This will include rules intended to ensure that the health and safety of staff is guaranteed. It should also make clear what the protocol is in the event of an accident.
At almost every workplace, the odd beer is occasionally drunk during Friday afternoon drinks, the Christmas drinks party or a company event. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this and it is good for the morale at work. But occasionally, this use of alcohol can gradually increase. Friday afternoon drinks start earlier all the time and not only on Fridays. If drinking starts to become excessive, you can compile some rules.
Staff who smoke will want to know when and where they are permitted to do so.
This should be included if your employees have access to confidential or secret company information. A confidentiality clause prohibits the employee from disclosing this information externally.
A confidential counselor is someone within the company with whom staff can discuss confidential issues. Employees can be reluctant to turn to the manager or employer in such cases. Often, this involves sexual intimidation or personal issues that are work-related. You can also opt to designate an external confidential counsellor.
If you make a company car available to a member of staff, it is advisable to reach agreements about this. These may include private use of the vehicle or driving behavior that must be in line with company values.
Performance review policy
You can include a performance review policy in the staff handbook. It can also be linked to the section on salary increases, by indicating that an employee will only qualify if they have a positive performance review.
Education and training
At Tentoo, we are fans of employees who attend courses and training programs. We encourage and facilitate this. Employees very much appreciate this and Tentoo benefits from the increased knowledge and skills. It creates a win-win situation. Of course, it can be disappointing if an employee leaves the company after completing an expensive course. You can include a repayment scheme in the staff handbook. However, you must abide by certain strict rules.
Writing the staff handbook
It is not easy deciding which topics are important for your organization or not. Deciding on the rules and agreements is no easier. HR is a specialist field and not every businessperson has an affinity with it. If you would like to introduce a staff handbook or staff regulations, the Tentoo HR advisers will be happy to provide assistance.