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Common HR Policies

common hr policies

Your company’s HR policies must comply with employment laws and best practices while meeting employee needs.

HR policies help leaders address employee concerns consistently while protecting the organization from legal compliance risks. Let’s examine some of the more prevalent HR policies.

1. Employee Conduct

Human Resources policies outline rules, guidelines and procedures that all employees must abide by. These must be drawn from laws and best practices which protect both the company and its employees from legal risks while simultaneously empowering its workforce.

Employee conduct policies set out the consequences for managers, leaders and employees who engage in any form of misconduct, such as discrimination or sexual harassment. Furthermore, these procedures help prevent future issues of this nature.

HR policies must be reviewed and revised regularly to remain compliant with changes to regulations, best practices and manager feedback. When this occurs, employees can have confidence that they will receive fair treatment from management.

2. Attendance

Company attendance policies must be reasonable and accommodating of employees with outside responsibilities such as picking up children from school afterschool or running a few minutes late due to traffic, for instance. Flexible scheduling options and working from home may help ease some of this strain on employees.

Ensure managers understand the definitions for absence, tardiness and no-shows as well as reporting procedures for time off reporting.

3. Performance

HR policies are essential to providing consistent and equitable work environments for employees, but they may be subject to human error. Therefore, HR departments must regularly reevaluate and update their policies.

One of the key practices is prioritising hiring talent that brings value to the business, using different interview methods to select candidates who fit perfectly with your job vacancies – commonly referred to as the “best fit” school of HR management, this helps employees feel safe and secure in their employment relationships.

4. Vacation

Vacation is defined as any period of time taken off work or studies for relaxation, recreation and/or leisure purposes – in Britain it’s commonly referred to as a holiday.

Establishing an effective vacation policy is integral to creating a workplace culture that encourages employees to take time off work. A good policy will outline exactly how much vacation an employee can earn, when and how they should request it, what happens if all their vacation time goes unused, as well as whether sick leave can be used during their trip.

5. Pay

HR policies related to payroll address employee pay, including how much employees earn and whether the company offers bonuses. They can also outline how overtime can be recorded and compensated for.

A good policy also defines how employees will be classified, whether as full-time, part-time and exempt or non-exempt employees, which could impact eligibility for benefits and perks. Meal and break policies as well as accrual mechanisms (vacation leave, sick days and leaves without pay accrual are important aspects to consider), may also be addressed as well as whether the company offers flexible working hours should also be addressed by this document.

6. Discipline

Rules regarding employee behavior must be clearly articulated and supported with appropriate disciplinary actions. Progressive discipline can help supervisors work with employees on correcting their conduct rather than punishing them alone.

Policies regarding discipline should also outline that employees are at-will and may be terminated for any reason, and how suspensions and terminations will take place, with steps for managing to document each step in the process.

7. Harassment

Harassment in the workplace is an important issue that can erode morale and lead to employee stress. Training and clear policies regarding what constitutes harassment are critical steps in order to avoid it happening again.

Harassment refers to any conduct which violates people’s basic human rights based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age or genetic information and which violates people’s civil rights. Verbal harassment includes derogatory remarks such as derogatory slurs insults and body-shaming jokes as well as physical acts like beating.

Harassment must target a protected class and occur frequently enough that it creates an intimidating or hostile work environment.

8. Discrimination

Your team members deserve the protection of an antidiscrimination policy in the workplace. It should include rules and guidance on recognizing discriminatory acts as well as how to report them.

Examples of discrimination can include pregnancy and gender identity discrimination; age; race; religion; sexual orientation; marital/parental status and disability discrimination as well as any comments or actions which violate these Code grounds that are derogatory, insulting or abusive.

Your employees also shouldn’t face reprisals for raising complaints of discrimination, which could constitute an offense under human rights laws.

9. Sexual Harassment

Harassment can be an extremely serious offense that leads to legal proceedings and damage morale in an organization. A policy outlining what constitutes sexual harassment may help stop it by providing employees with clear guidelines on what constitutes inappropriate behavior.

Unwanted sexual behavior includes verbal abuse such as jokes and comments pertaining to sexual topics, physical conduct of a sexual nature, offensive gestures and pranks and sending or displaying obscene material or images. Quid pro quo harassment is illegal as well and insinuates that job performance depends on meeting sexual demands in exchange for job performance.

No matter the intent or meaning behind a person’s harassment behavior; only whether or not their target found it offensive should determine a violation. Even subtle harassment could violate this policy if not overtly offensive.

10. Drug Testing

Drug testing can be an integral part of an effective HR policy. This test can detect various drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates and alcohol; various specimen samples including urine, hair, saliva (oral fluid) and sweat can all be examined during testing.

Tests may be conducted during pre-employment screenings, reasonable suspicion testing for employees who exhibit signs of intoxication like slurred speech and poor coordination, post-accident assessments or annual physical exams. Random drug screening may also be administered on workers in safety-sensitive jobs.

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