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Do I have to have an Employee Handbook for my organisation?

Do I have to have an Employee Handbook for my organisation?

It’s not a legal requirement to have an employee handbook, but there are a number of advantages – it makes it easy to find information, guidance and rules, and it’s far easier to keep a handbook up to date and issue revised versions from time to time than it is to issue updated individual policies or procedure documents.

A handbook can be online too – it doesn’t have to be in hard copy or given to employees individually. And it doesn’t have to be signed by employees, all that is required is that the information it contains is reasonably accessible to them. Finally a handbook can be an effective way of communicating to new employees how the organisation works and what its priorities are, helping them to become effective more quickly.

Should the contents of our employee handbook be contractually binding?

Our advice generally is that it is better for an employer that the contents of a handbook are not made part of the employee’s contract.  If they were contractual, then any intended change to the policies or procedure would require the agreement of the employee, or it would be a breach of contract by the employer. 

How does it help?

Whilst it is not a legal requirement to have an employee/company handbook, we think that having a detailed staff handbook of essential policies and procedures is a must for any business. Having a well written employee handbook means that employees know what’s expected of them, and it means the business owner doesn’t have to keep making individual decisions as to how to treat situations, as the standards and boundaries are already clear and defined.  As your business grows, consistent treatment of staff becomes increasingly important.

What should I do next?

If you need further advice or a have a specific situation you’d like to discuss, please get in touch.


First Published 12 January 2021
Last Updated 12 January 2021

12 January 2021
First published.

Find out more about Kirsty Henderson

Kirsty Henderson

Kirsty Henderson

Kirsty is a HR Advisor in our HR team