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Employee Handbooks

HR Buddy specialises in providing essential insights and guidance on employee handbooks that are compliant with Irish employment law.

Our handbooks are customised to suit the exact needs of each individual business.

We provide tailored policies, staff handbooks, staff contracts and documents to ensure you are meeting your basic HR compliance requirements.

Speak to one of our specialists today to find out more.

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Although an employee handbook, or an employee manual is not specifically required under Irish law, they are invaluable tools in managing the employee/ employer relationship.

As well as this, employers are legally required to provide employees with details of company policies and correct procedures.

The staff handbook has a separate function to an employment contract.

Handbooks can be updated by the employer without input from the employee, however, the employment contract is a legally binding document that cannot be altered without agreement from both parties.

What policies should be included in an employee handbook?

At the heart of effective employee handbooks lies a fundamental purpose: to inform and guide.

These documents provide employees with a centralised repository of information about their rights, responsibilities, and expectations within the workplace.

Some of the policies that should be included in the handbook include:

  • Company background and values
  • Code of conduct
  • Salary and payroll
  • Employee wellbeing
  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Grievance procedures
  • Bullying and harassment policies and procedures
  • Health and safety policy
  • Equality policy
  • New employees induction
  • Training and learning
  • Development and promotion
  • Communication policies
  • Data protection
  • Redundancy policy
  • Terms and conditions
    • Probation
    • Hours of work
    • Company premises
    • Breaks
    • Absence from work
    • Dress
    • Use of internet and communications
    • Confidentiality
    • Right to search
    • Resignation procedure
    • Termination procedure
    • Company property
  • Benefits
    • Annual leave
    • Public holidays
    • Parental leave
    • Maternity leave
    • Paternity leave
    • Carer’s leave
    • Force majeure leave
    • Adoptive leave
    • Compassionate leave
    • Pensions

Employee handbooks should always be tailored to your organisation.

This ensures that policies and guidelines align specifically with your company’s unique culture, values and operational nuances.

The goal is a harmonious work environment and ensure compliance with legal regulations.

How to write an employee handbook

Writing an employee handbook in Ireland involves addressing various legal requirements and including information that is relevant to both the employer and employees.

Here are some guidelines for writing:

Use clear language

When creating an employee handbook, it’s important to be clear and unambiguous. The language should not be overly complex or difficult to understand.

The transparency helps to eliminate ambiguity and promotes a clear understanding amongst all employees.

Establish clear expectations and guidelines

Employee handbooks should establish clear expectations for employee behaviour, performance and compliance with workplace regulations.

This helps to maintain a professional and harmonious work environment, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding acceptable and unacceptable conduct.

Protection for both employers and employees

Employee handbooks outline the rights and responsibilities of each party, ensuring that expectations are aligned and potential conflicts are minimised.

This legal protection can safeguard the company from potential legal challenges and liabilities while also providing employees with a clear understanding of their rights and entitlements.

Foster a positive workplace culture

Employee handbooks play a significant role in shaping and reinforcing the company’s culture.

By articulating the company’s values, mission, and goals, handbooks can foster a sense of belonging, engagement, and shared purpose among employees.

This shared understanding of the company’s culture helps to create a more cohesive and productive work environment.

What to include in an employee handbook


  • Briefly introduce the company, its mission, and values
  • State the purpose of the employee handbook

Welcome message:

  • A welcoming note from the CEO or relevant authority

Table of contents:

  • Provide an organized structure for easy navigation

Employment relationship:

  • Clarify that the handbook is not a contract
  • Outline the employment relationship

Equal opportunities and diversity:

  • Emphasise the commitment to equal opportunities and diversity
  • Describe the company’s anti-discrimination policies

Terms and conditions of employment:

  • Specify working hours, breaks, and lunch arrangements
  • Outline the probationary period, if applicable
  • Explain the process for changing terms and conditions

Compensation and benefits:

  • Detail salary, bonuses, and other compensation structures
  • Outline benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, etc.

Time off and leave policies:

  • Explain annual leave, public holidays, sick leave, and other types of leave
  • Provide the procedure for requesting time off

Code of conduct:

  • Define expected behaviour in the workplace
  • Discuss dress code, punctuality, and communication standards

Health and safety:

  • Highlight the company’s commitment to maintaining a safe working environment
  • Explain emergency procedures and reporting hazards

IT and communication policies:

  • Specify acceptable use of company-provided technology and communication channels

Performance expectations:

  • Outline performance expectations and the evaluation process
  • Discuss professional development opportunities

Grievance and disciplinary procedures:

  • Clearly state the procedure for addressing grievances
  • Outline the disciplinary process, including warnings and termination

Confidentiality and data protection:

  • Emphasise the importance of confidentiality
  • Explain how personal data is handled in compliance with data protection laws

Termination of employment:

  • Detail the circumstances under which employment may be terminated
  • Discuss notice periods and redundancy management arrangements

Employee acknowledgment:

  • Include a section where employees acknowledge they have read and understood the handbook


  • Include any additional documents or forms referenced in the handbook.

Remember, it’s crucial to consult with HR professionals  to ensure that your employee handbook complies with all relevant Irish employment laws and regulations.

This outline is a general guide and may need to be customised based on your specific business and legal requirements.

Partner with an online HR company

HR companies can provide valuable support in creating and maintaining an effective and compliant employee handbook.

An employee handbook is an indispensable tool for any organisation, serving as a roadmap for workplace conduct, policies, and procedures.

By partnering with an experienced HR company like HR Buddy, your organisation will benefit from a comprehensive and tailored handbook that aligns with your unique values and goals.

HR Buddy offers deep expertise in employment law, employment policies and communication strategies, helping companies of all sizes to tailor the handbook to your specific needs and industry requirements.

Contact our team today

Navigating the landscape of employment contracts in Ireland requires expertise and a keen understanding of the legal framework.

At HR Buddy, we’re committed to providing the guidance you need to create contracts of employment that are compliant and follow best practices.

Call us on 064 669 8034 or use the contact form below to send us a message.

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