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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?

An effective employee handbook is an informative document that details policies and procedures.

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 core 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

An employee handbook should always be tailored to your organisation and created by a qualified HR professional.

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 inform employees about company values and the company rules, while demonstrating standards of ideal employee behaviour.

Establish clear expectations and guidelines

Employee handbooks should establish clear expectations for employee behaviour, performance reviews 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

Staff 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

The handbook plays a significant role in shaping and reinforcing the company’s culture.

By articulating the company’s core values, mission, and goals, handbooks can foster a sense of belonging, engagement, and good employee morale.

This shared understanding of the business’s culture helps to create a more cohesive and healthy working environment.

What to include in an employee handbook

Introduction:

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

Welcome message:

  • A welcome to new hires or new employees from the CEO or relevant authority
  • Information about the company’s history

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 paid 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, information about personal protective equipment and reporting hazards

IT and communication policies:

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

Performance expectations:

  • Outline employee’s 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 and other applicable 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

Appendices:

  • Include any additional documents or forms referenced in the employee 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. For employee handbook examples, contact our team for guidance.

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 Irish employment law, employment policies and communication strategies, helping companies of all sizes to tailor the handbook to your specific needs and industry requirements without any unnecessary legal jargon. 

Contact our team today

Creating a compliant and comprehensive employee handbook requires expertise and a keen understanding of the legal framework.

At HR Buddy, we will ensure that your business’s HR documentation is compliant with Irish law and follows best practices. We work across sectors and support large and small businesses

Call us on 064 669 8034 or use the contact form below to request a callback from one of our HR experts.

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Frequently asked questions

An employee handbook (also called an employee manual or a staff handbook) is a comprehensive document outlining a company’s policies and procedures. It informs new and existing employees of their rights, responsibilities, and expected employee behaviour.

This comprehensive guide helps everyone understand the company culture and ensures clear communication on company policies, differentiating it from individual employment contracts.

Generally, employee handbooks are not considered confidential documents. While they may contain sensitive information about company policies and procedures, they are intended to be readily accessible and understood by all employees.

  • Irish law does not mandate employee handbooks: Although not legally required, they are a valuable tool for companies to communicate policies and employee expectations.
  • Employees have the right to be informed: Irish employment law emphasises transparency and fair treatment for employees. 
  • Handbook content should be transparent: While commercially sensitive information might be withheld, the core policies governing employee rights and responsibilities should be readily available.

However, it’s important to remember that:

  • Certain sections might be confidential: Information specific to individual employees, such as disciplinary records or performance reviews, should be treated confidentially.
  • Sensitive company information should be protected: While the handbook outlines policies, specific trade secrets or confidential business information shouldn’t be included.

Therefore, while not confidential in the strictest sense, employee handbooks in Ireland should be developed and used with transparency and responsible information sharing in mind.

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