Still in need of a robust phone policy

By Jeff Salton on June 28th, 2017

Apparently, there are more mobile phones in the world than there are people (and I know of countries where lots of people don’t have a mobile phone).

I’ll admit to having a few old phones kicking around at home that I no longer use. And in my previous job, I had two – a work-provided mobile phone and a personal one that I kept because I liked the number and it was good way to separate work from my personal life.

Back when mobile phones were used only to make calls, it was pretty easy for businesses to control their use – and use was fairly restricted by the length of phone calls. But now, it seems many workers are controlled by their phones.

And while laws prohibit the use of mobile phones in vehicles on the road, using a mobile phone while at work is not illegal, per se. Walking around some worksites while concentrating on using a mobile phone can be fraught with danger and increase a worker’s risk of injury – and your liability. Then there’s also the lost productivity while someone organises their personal life during work time.

Many businesses have solid IT and social media policies, but not a phone policy. Originally, they probably didn’t think they needed one. But, as we know, times have changed.

Employment law expert Charles Power, Editor-in-Chief of the Employment Law Practical Handbook, says a phone policy should do the following things:

  • clearly identify what conduct is acceptable when it comes to phone use in the workplace, and what isn’t;
  • specify the guidelines of using business phones – if you supply mobile phones to employees, your policy should specify exactly how that phone should be used, e.g. it is not to be used for personal calls;
  • stipulate what constitutes unlawful use of business phones, e.g. state that is unacceptable to use business phones for unlawful purposes, such as to send a discriminatory text message to another employee, or to download inappropriate content onto a business mobile phone;
  • identify your employees’ obligations and how you expect them to conduct themselves when using their mobile phone in the workplace;
  • remind employees of their responsibility not to misuse your confidential information; and
  • specify the consequences of non-compliance with the policy.

Charles’ no-nonsense approach to policies is what makes the Employment Law Practical Handbook such a valuable tool for busy managers and business-owners. With more than 70 chapters, the Handbook covers all aspects of employment law in plain English, with plenty of downloadable and editable templates you can use to help create your own policies, thereby saving time and money (especially if you were hiring your own lawyer to prepare these documents for you).

For information on employment legislation in your jurisdiction, redundancy and retrenchment, all types of employee leave entitlements, how to handle resignations, anti-discrimination laws and general protections under the Fair Work Act, you can’t afford not to have a copy of the Employment Law Practical Handbook to refer to.

Order yours today on an obligation-free trial. What do you have to lose?

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