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A workplace policy is a set of rules and principles that aims to guide the behaviour of your employees in relation to their work and the workplace. This invaluable set of legally accurate workplace policies will make it easy for you to customise policies that will:

  • inform your employees about what is expected of them, such as behavioural and performance standards;
  • clearly communicate information to new employees;
  • provide rules and guidelines for decision-making in routine situations so that employees do not need to continually ask senior managers;
  • outline a consistent and clear response to situations arising from employee interaction;
  • demonstrate your commitment to ensuring your employees will be treated fairly and equally;
  • provide an acceptable method of dealing with complaints and misunderstandings to help avoid claims of bias and favouritism;
  • outline a clear framework for decision-making; and
  • protect you from legal risk by ensuring that you are better equipped to defend employee claims of breached employment legislation.

Make sure your employees are inducted, trained, and competent in your policy – they need to have access to the policy and be regularly re-trained in it to ensure its effectiveness.

To some extent, the type and size of your business will determine which policies you need to have in place. For example, you will not be able to justify a system of contact officers for a bullying policy if you are a small business, or if a number of your employees usually work on the road, away from head office.

However, your business should at least have well-developed versions of the following policies:

  • Code of Conduct;
  • Confidential Information Policy;
  • Drug and Alcohol Policy;
  • Anti-discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy;
  • Internet and Email Usage Policy;
  • Performance Review Policy;
  • Privacy Policy;
  • Social Media Policy;
  • Workplace Bullying Policy; and
  • Workplace Health and Safety Policy.

While most policies are in writing, they may also exist as an unwritten rule, custom or practice. However, it is a good idea to avoid uncertainty by implementing a written policy.

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Top stories for Workplace Policies

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Your questions answered: Is it risky if our employee hasn’t signed their employment contract yet?

Workplace Policies

Q What are the risks to a business if a new employee commences and hasn’t officially signed the employment contract? Are the risks minimised by having a letter of offer signed prior to the commencement date? A From a practical […]

By Portner Press on June 17th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we convert our employees to contractors?

Workplace Policies

Q Our business subcontracts to workers who are paid a percentage of the fees they charge. We also have two specialists in the same area who, because they are on the payroll, are earning more than the fees they generate. […]

By Portner Press on June 14th, 2019

Spotless Group to pay $60,000 for breaching privacy of employees

Workplace Policies

Spotless Group has been ordered to pay $60,000 in damages to 14 former employees for breaching their privacy rights when it paid for them to join a union without their consent. The employees only became aware about the unauthorised disclosure […]

By Portner Press on June 10th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we request medical evidence to prove an employee is fit for work?

Workplace Policies

Q If an employee injures themselves at home and we have concerns about them undertaking their duties, can we ask them to provide medical clearance from their doctor or should it be a company designated doctor? A You can request […]

By Portner Press on May 31st, 2019

Your questions answered: What health and safety obligations do we have to an employee working offsite?

Workplace Policies

Q What are our health and safety obligations to an employee who is working at a client’s office? A The definition of workplace in health and safety legislation is broad enough to encompass any place where a person employed by […]

By Portner Press on May 29th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we end a fixed-term contract early?

Workplace Policies

Q Our employee is on a 12-month fixed-term contract that ends in 8 months. The employee is not satisfactory. There is a clause in the contract that specifies a 6-month probation. What is the business’s legal position regarding ending the […]

By Portner Press on May 27th, 2019

Your questions answered: How soon can an employee return to work after giving birth?

Workplace Policies

Q Is there a time limit that an employee cannot return to work after giving birth? Should we request a medical certificate stating the employee is fit for work if she wishes to return within the first 6 weeks after […]

By Portner Press on May 24th, 2019

Your questions answered: Is travel to and from home in a work vehicle counted as business use?

Workplace Policies

Q Is it business or personal use when an employee uses a work vehicle to get to and from work each day, and so takes the vehicle home? A If the vehicle is being used to travel between home and […]

By Portner Press on May 17th, 2019

The Privacy Act applies to finger print scanning rules FWC

Workplace Policies

Employers that use biometric fingerprint scanners for employees signing in and out of work are potentially subject to Australian privacy legislation according to a recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruling. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) applies to private sector organisations […]

By Portner Press on May 10th, 2019

5 steps to manage work-related stress

Workplace Policies

In an important decision in March, the NSW District Court found a property manager of a building guilty of breaching its primary duty of care to ensure safety by failing to arrange or verify that a major 10-year inspection of […]

By Portner Press on May 3rd, 2019