The Ministry of Employment, Business and Innovation has launched a new free online tool to assist employers develop workplace policies. You can access the Workplace Policy Builder by click on the link below:
What are Workplace Policies?
Workplace polices set out the rules for employees in your workplace. Workplace policies may be hidden away in the fine print of the employment agreements or be a separate written policy. It is vital that employers are familiar with the terms of their employment agreements to avoid breaching any workplace policies contained within these documents.
Determining which policies are appropriate for your business will depend on the type and size of your business. For example, a policy on personal protective equipment (PPE) is important for a manufacturing or construction company but is likely to be irrelevant for an office environment. At a minimum you should consider having the following types of policies in place:
- Health and Safety
- IT and Social Media
- Workplace Bullying and Discrimination
- Drug and Alcohol
- Use of Company Property
- Performance Management and Misconduct.
Why are Workplace Policies Important?
Workplace policies ensure that both the employer and the employees are working off the same page. In addition, well managed workplace policies help you manage legal risk in relation employment misconduct and potential personal grievances. Workplace policies reduce legal risk by:
- providing clear expectations and standards for all employees
- demonstrate good faith by the employer to treat employees fair and equally
- provide a clear framework for dealing with employee performance management and/or misconduct.
What are your obligations in relation to Workplace Policies?
Employers must advise employees of any changes or new policies. If an employer does not advise employees, it may not be reasonable for the employer to rely on a policy in relation to employment performance, misconduct and/or personal grievances.
Employers should always check existing employment agreements and policies to ascertain whether there is a formal requirement to consult with employee prior to varying or introducing a new workplace policy. Regardless, it is good practice to consult with employees to encourage employee `buy in' and understanding of the policy.
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