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Staff Handbook

Please read through this handbook and sign at the bottom.

Prepared by
Citation Ltd
June 2015

Contents

  1. 1. About this Handbook
  2. 2. Annual holiday entitlement and authorisation
  3. 3. Absence from work
  4. 4. General information
  5. 5. Company facilities and amenities
  6. 6. Company procedures
  7. 7. Company policies

1. About this Handbook

This Handbook has been drawn up by the Company to provide you with information on employment policies and procedures.  It is important for you to read the Handbook carefully as this, together with your Contract of Employment, sets out your main terms and conditions of employment.

The information covers a wide range of subjects relating to your employment and in the event that information in this Handbook conflicts with terms and conditions as stated in your Contract of Employment, the Contract will take precedence.

If you have any questions or any part of the Handbook is unclear to you, please do not hesitate to raise any queries with Management.

It is important that you do this before signing that you have read, understood and are willing to abide by all the Company’s terms and conditions.

2. Annual holiday entitlement and authorisation

Entitlement

Full details of your holiday entitlement are in your Contract of Employment.

Carrying over holidays to the following year

You MUST take your full holiday entitlement during the holiday year.  Holidays may not be carried forward into the next holiday year, nor will you receive payment for holidays not taken.  The holiday is split into two six month periods,

1st October to 31st March and 1st April to 30th September, during which you must take your holiday entitlement for each period.

Request for holidays

In order to submit a request for holidays, you should complete the relevant form to the office and have the holiday authorised by Management.

The amount of notice required is 21 days.  This is taken from the receipt of the request in the office.

All requests, providing they have been received in time, will be processed in date and time order.

No more than one employee on each contract will normally be allowed to take holidays at any one time.

Length and timing of holidays

The Company will not normally agree a request for a holiday that involves more than two consecutive weeks.

Holidays will not be granted during the period over Christmas and New Year.

Refusal of holidays

In the event that the Company has to refuse a holiday request because of business needs, the Company is not responsible for any financial commitment made by you prior to authorisation.  You are therefore advised not to book holidays with tour operators, travel agents, hotels or passenger carriers, etc., until your holiday request has been authorised and you have received confirmation of such.

Adjustment to holidays

On joining the Company you will be entitled to holiday leave in proportion to the holiday year remaining on the date when your employment began.

On leaving the Company you will be entitled to holiday leave in proportion to the holiday year worked on the date when your employment ended.  If you have been paid for more holidays than your entitlement then the balance will be deducted from your final payment.   If you have been paid for fewer holidays than your entitlement then the balance will be paid to you with your final payment.

3. Absence from work

Appointments

If you need to be absent from work to keep a medical, dental or other essential appointment, prior permission should always be obtained from Management. Payment for absences of this nature will not be made unless taken as holiday. You must try to arrange such appointments outside normal working hours wherever possible and any regular appointments that have to be made during working hours must be supported by an appointment card.  Any such absences from the workplace should be minimal.  As with any leave, this should be submitted on a holiday form with the correct 21 days’ notice.   If this is not possible for any reason, supporting documentation must also be provided (such as doctor’s or hospital letter/appointment card).

Sickness and injury

Notification of absence

If you are absent from work without prior authorisation, you must notify the Contracts Manager or the Office by phone as soon as possible before your start time on the first day of absence (for morning workers; the night before you are due to start work, 9.00 am at the latest).  Text messages and emails are not acceptable.  Any unauthorised absence must be properly explained in that first contact  and,  if  the  absence  continues,  you  must  keep  the  Company  fully informed.  This applies to both short and long term situations and you will be expected to contact the Company on a daily basis during the first week and weekly thereafter.  Self-certification notes must be completed for any absence up to seven days.

Period of absence

If your sickness is for more than seven calendar days then you must provide the Company with a doctor’s medical certificate.  You must continue to provide medical certificates to cover the whole of the absence period.

Please note that the Company will review the attendance levels of all employees on a regular basis.  In deciding whether to take further action in respect of sickness absence, the evidence of a medical certificate may not be sufficient and the Company may seek alternative medical information.

Returning from absence

On your return to work after absence because of sickness, irrespective of the length of absence, you must complete the Company’s sickness form.

If you have been suffering from a notifiable disease such as food poisoning, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, etc., you must not report for work without clearance from your doctor in writing.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The Company is responsible for paying SSP to you if you are eligible.

The maximum period for which SSP is payable is 28 weeks in one period of sickness absence and is paid at a rate specified by law.  As with other earnings, SSP is subject to the deduction of income tax and all other normal deductions. We will inform you if you are not eligible for SSP.

SSP is paid in respect of qualifying days on which you are unable to work through sickness.  Qualifying days are those days on which you would normally work.  Generally SSP is not payable for the first three qualifying days of sickness which are known as “waiting days”, but this may not always be the case if you are absent on more than one occasion within a short period of time.

SSP is only paid when the sickness absence is for four or more consecutive qualifying days.

“Family friendly” rights

Information on the current statutory provisions relating to the following is available from Management, with whom you should raise any queries.

  • Leave and pay connected with the birth of a baby.
  • Leave and pay on the adoption of a child.
  • Unpaid parental leave.
  • Unpaid time off for dependants.

Flexible working

If you have at least 26 weeks continuous service with the Company you have a statutory right to ask for your contract of employment to be varied.

Any request for a variation must relate to:

  • the hours you are required to work,
  • the time when you are required to work, or
  • the place where you are required to work (i.e. at home or at any place of business operated by the Company).

Requests must be made in writing and must include the following information:

  • a statement that it is a request for a variation of your contract of employment,
  • the variation you are seeking and the proposed commencement date,
  • an explanation of the effect you think the change would have on the Company and how it might be dealt with.

On receipt of your formal request, the Company will arrange to meet with you to discuss it.

You can only make one request in any 12-month period for your contract of employment to be varied and, if the Company grants your request, the variation will be a permanent change to your contract of employment.

Jury service and attendance at court as a witness

If you are called for jury service or as a court witness, you will be granted unpaid leave of absence and you should claim for loss of earnings from the court.  You will normally be given a form from the court asking for confirmation of your normal salary, which should be completed by the Company.

Public duties

The Company will allow reasonable time off without pay for designated public duties, such as a Justice of the Peace.

General

If there are any aspects of this section that are unclear, you are encouraged to put any questions you may have to Management.

4. General information

Insurance whilst on Company business

The Company’s employers’ liability insurance covers all employees for injury or death from an incident whilst working for the Company.  This is only payable when the Company is found to have been negligent in its role as an employer and as determined by the Company insurers.

Damage or loss to personal property

All damage or loss should be reported to Management immediately.   Where there is evidence that the accident or loss occurred through lack of care on your part, compensation will not normally be paid and you should check whether a claim could be made on your personal insurance policy to cover such circumstances.

You  must  not  leave  any  personal  possessions  or  valuables  unattended  on Company or client premises and should not bring such to work.

Return of Company property

On the termination of your employment for whatever reason, you must return all Company property in your possession or for which you have responsibility. Failure to return all such items will result in the cost of the unreturned items being deducted from any monies outstanding to you.  This is an express written term of your contract of employment.  In the case of keys, access cards etc, if you fail to return such when requested to do so, it may be considered theft and reported to the police.

Change of address or personal circumstances

You must always advise the Company, in writing, when you have a change in personal  circumstances  that  will  affect  your  personnel  record.    Particular examples  include  details  of  your  address,  telephone  number,  emergency contact, bank details and any qualifications.

You must also seek authority from the Company if you wish to take additional employment.  In order to work more than an average of 48 hours in a week, you must sign an individual waiver form.

Health and safety

From the point of view of safety and appearance, work areas and cleaning cupboards must be kept clean and tidy at all times.

You are required to take reasonable care of your own well-being and that of all other employees.  The relevant health and safety notices are posted around the premises and you are expected to be familiar with their requirements.

If you have an accident or injury at work you must enter the incident in the site Accident Book.  The date, time and nature of the incident should be entered and whether it was witnessed and must be reported immediately to Management.

Pay

Payslips

At the relevant payment interval you will receive a payslip by email, where an email address has been supplied or by collection from the office, giving details of all payments and deductions e.g. gross pay, income tax, national insurance, etc.

Overpayments

If you are overpaid for any reason you are required to notify the wages department.  The amount of overpayment will normally be deducted from the following payment but if this would cause hardship, alternative arrangements to repay may be discussed.  Any failure to report an overpayment may result in disciplinary action.

Income tax

In compliance with the law, you will receive a P60 from the Company each year detailing earnings and payment of income tax and National Insurance where this has been paid.  If you have not paid either then you may not receive a P60. This document should be kept in a safe place.

The Company has no control over your Tax, National Insurance or other regulatory deduction as set out in current legislation.

If you are unsure as to why a tax or other statutory deduction has been made, you should contact the local tax office before you contact the wages department.

 

5. Company facilities and amenities

Unless specified to the contrary in your Contract of Employment, the benefits and facilities in this section are discretionary and may be withdrawn or altered by the Company at any time.

Food and drink facilities

These facilities may be provided by clients for the convenience of all employees. Where you are permitted and are entitled to a break, please ensure that all facilities are left in a clean and tidy condition after use.   Care must be taken when using hot/electrical equipment and all health and safety rules concerning their use should be adhered to.

Please note that for health and safety reasons portable electrical appliances must not be brought onto Company premises.

Site working

When working on a Company customer’s site you are required to follow the customer’s own site rules and procedures.   There is no obligation on our customers to make their site services and facilities available to our employees.

Car parking

The Company does not provide any car parking facilities and does not accept liability for any damage or fines imposed on employee vehicles.

Where customer sites have parking available, vehicles will be parked at your own risk.  You must comply with any parking rules and regulations as set out by the customer.

6. Company procedures

Disciplinary procedure

Purpose

The Company firmly believes that the fairest way to resolve any problems relating to conduct or performance is to have a well-structured disciplinary procedure.  The procedure is designed to help and encourage all employees to achieve and maintain the Company’s standards of conduct, attendance and performance and should be looked upon as a corrective process.

Please read the following principles and procedures carefully as they form an important part of your terms and conditions of employment:

Principles

Apart from an informal verbal warning, you have the following rights in relation to disciplinary action:

  • to be informed of the allegations of misconduct or poor performance to be addressed at any disciplinary hearing
  • to be accompanied by a work colleague or by an accredited trade union official
  • to appeal against any disciplinary action.

The procedure

Formal verbal warning

In the case of conduct, attendance or performance not reaching the required standard, the problem will be discussed with you at a disciplinary hearing where you will be given the opportunity to offer a satisfactory explanation.  If the explanation is unsatisfactory, you will be issued with a formal verbal warning. The topics discussed at the meeting will be confirmed in writing to you and the verbal warning will remain on your file for the stated period of time, usually six to 12 months.

Written warning

A written warning will be issued following a disciplinary hearing where there is a current formal verbal warning on your file and sufficient improvement has not been made or where the misconduct or poor performance is serious enough to warrant the Company bypassing the formal verbal warning stage.  A written warning will remain on file for the stated period of time, usually six to 12 months.

Final written warning

If there is still insufficient improvement in your conduct, or if your performance is still unsatisfactory, you will be asked to attend a further disciplinary hearing. If no satisfactory explanation is offered for the lack of improvement, you will be issued with a final written warning that will remain on file normally for 12 months, but this period may be extended.

If the misconduct is sufficiently serious to warrant only one warning but is not sufficiently serious to justify dismissal, a final written warning will be issued. You will be informed in your final written warning that any further misconduct or failure to meet the required standard will result in your dismissal.

Dismissal

Dismissal will normally result if you still fail to achieve the standard of conduct or performance required by the Company.  You will be given every opportunity to offer an explanation for your failure to meet the required standards at a final disciplinary hearing.   As with all previous stages of the disciplinary procedure you will be offered the right to be accompanied and the right to appeal against the decision.

If you are dismissed, you will be provided, as soon as is reasonably practicable, with  the  reasons  for  dismissal,  the  date  on  which  your  employment  will terminate and details of how you may appeal.

In exceptional circumstances, the Company reserves the right, as an alternative to  dismissal,  to  impose  a  penalty  of  suspension  without  pay  for  up  to  a maximum of five working days, together with a final written warning that will remain on file for 12 months.

General

You will always be given as much information as possible regarding the allegations of misconduct, or any documentation detailing the shortfall in performance or capability that will form the basis of the disciplinary hearing. You will also be given fair and reasonable notice of the date and time of the hearing and whenever possible the disciplinary hearing will be held around your normal working hours.

Any disciplinary action will only be taken after a full investigation of the facts, and if it is necessary to suspend you for this period of time, you will receive your normal rate of pay.

The Company reserves the right to vary the disciplinary procedure dependent on either the seriousness of the allegations of misconduct or capability to be addressed, or if you only have a short amount of service.

If you are a short service employee or are still within the probationary period, you may not be issued with any warnings before dismissal.

NB     The Company reserves the right to deduct from pay the cost of any damage or loss to property or goods, which after a disciplinary hearing was found to have been caused by your negligence or vandalism.

Conduct covered

Conduct at work

The Company expects all employees to behave in a normal and reasonable manner.  The following list provides examples of the type of conduct that the Company would expect:

  • To be punctual for the start of work.
  • To give regular attendance at work and to minimise all absenteeism.
  • To be courteous, helpful and polite to all those with whom you have contact.
  • To devote all your time and attention, whilst at work, to the Company and ensure that all its property including confidential information, records, equipment, information technology, etc., is kept safe and used correctly.
  • To comply with all the Company’s rules and regulations and to observe and perform all the terms of your employment as set out or referred to in your Contract of Employment.
  • Not to be involved with any company, client or agent who is in direct competition with this Company. You are expected to devote all your loyalty to this Company.
  • To not make any actions which could show the Company in a bad light.
  • To only speak with the Contracts Manager/Company regarding any aspects of your work and not portray the Company in a bad light.

Conduct outside working hours

Normally  the  Company  has  no  jurisdiction  over  employee  activity  outside working hours.  Behaviour outside working hours will only become an issue if the activities adversely affect the Company.

Adverse publicity, bringing the Company name into disrepute, or actions that result in loss of faith in the Company, resulting in loss of business, or loss of faith in the integrity of the individual, will result in the disciplinary procedure being instigated.

The detriment suffered by the Company will determine the level of misconduct and it will also determine which disciplinary stage is most appropriate to suit the circumstances.

If  the  actions  cause  extreme  embarrassment  or  serious  damage  to  the Company’s reputation or image, a decision may be taken to terminate the employment.

The Company’s procedures covering disciplinary hearings and appeals still apply.

Gross misconduct

Gross misconduct will result in summary dismissal, which means you lose your right to notice or pay in lieu of notice.

Here is a list of offences that are normally regarded as “gross misconduct”.  It is not exhaustive, but it describes the kind of offence that can result in summary dismissal.

  • Deliberate failure to comply with the published rules of the Company, including those covering cash handling, security, health and safety, equal opportunities, the Internet, etc.
  • Deliberate falsification of records.
  • The committing of offences against current discrimination legislation whilst acting on behalf of the Company.
  • Fighting or assaulting another person.
  • Using threatening or offensive language towards customers or other employees.
  • Making yourself unfit to work by solvent abuse, drinking alcohol, taking of illegal substances or failing to follow medical instructions on prescribed drugs.
  • Being in unauthorised possession of the Company’s property.
  • Being in possession of illegal drugs and substances or alcohol whilst on Company premises, including in Company vehicles.
  • Obscene behaviour.
  • Behaviour likely to bring the Company into disrepute.
  • Wilful and deliberate damage to or misuse of Company property.
  • Refusal to carry out reasonable duties or instructions.
  • Conviction on a criminal charge that is relevant to your employment with the Company.
  • The misuse including use for personal gain, of confidential information in the course of working for the Company.
  • Undertaking private work on the premises without permission.
  • Unauthorised use of Company or customer property.

Disciplinary appeal procedure

At each stage of the disciplinary procedure, you will be given the right of appeal. If you wish to exercise your right of appeal, you should put your reasons in writing to a Director within five days of receiving written confirmation of the disciplinary decision taken against you.  You will need to explain why you feel the decision is unfair, or inappropriate in relation to the matters addressed at the disciplinary hearing.

If you have any new information or evidence to support your appeal, please give details in full and include the names of any witnesses you may wish to call to support you in your appeal.  This is in order that there will be sufficient time to investigate  any  additional  information  before  the  appeal  hearing.    You  are entitled to be accompanied at the appeal hearing by a work colleague or by an accredited trade union official.

Although  the  purpose  of  the  appeal  is  to  review  any  disciplinary  penalty imposed, it cannot increase the disciplinary penalty.

The decision of the person dealing with your appeal is final.

Grievance procedure

A grievance procedure is quite simply a way for all employees to discuss any problems, or air their views on any dissatisfaction that relates to their work.  An informal discussion can often resolve matters, but if you wish to raise the grievance formally, it should be done in the following way.

Submit your formal written grievance to a Manager who will make every effort to hear your grievance within five working days.  If you feel that you need help in putting your point of view across, you may ask a work colleague or an accredited trade union official to be present to help you explain the issue you are raising.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your meeting, tell the person who dealt with your grievance that you wish to take the matter further and intend to appeal against the outcome.

Submit your formal written appeal to a Director within five days of receiving written confirmation of the grievance decision, including an explanation of why you are dissatisfied with the original decision.  Every effort will be made to hear your appeal within five working days and you may ask a work colleague or an accredited trade union official to be present to help you.  Although the Company will always be willing to try to resolve your grievance as amicably as possible, a decision reached at the appeal stage is final.

Public interest disclosures

Employees and workers who make public disclosures, generally about wrong doings in the workplace, are commonly referred to as “whistleblowers”.  Under certain circumstances “whistleblowers” are protected under legislation for disclosing information that is known as “qualifying”.  A qualifying disclosure must relate to:

  • committing a criminal offence,
  • failing to comply with a legal obligation,
  • a miscarriage of justice,
  • endangering the health and safety of an individual,
  • environmental damage,
  • concealing any information relating to the above.

All employees are legally protected if they make a qualifying disclosure relating to any of the above points.   Anyone wishing to make a disclosure is strongly recommended to raise the issue with a Manager in the first instance so that, where appropriate, there is an opportunity to address the area of concern.

Where an employee wishes to make a disclosure that concerns a matter that cannot be dealt with through the above procedure, it should be raised with Public Concern at Work, an independent whistleblowing charity based at 3rd Floor, Bank Chambers, 6 – 10 Borough High Street, London SE1 9QQ (0207 404 6609).

Claiming and accounting for expenses

If you incur or anticipate incurring legitimate expenses on the Company’s behalf then you can claim them back on production of valid receipts.  Claims can only be made for expenses incurred wholly in respect of business purposes, where entitled and where prior, express authorisation has been sought and granted.

Petty cash

Amounts may be claimed by presenting the receipt to the Office.

Company fuel cards

If you are issued with a Company fuel card all expenditure must be accounted for.  All receipts including VAT receipts must be submitted to the Office as soon as possible.

Mileage must be recorded with the fuel vendor at the time of purchase where this is part of and required by that fuel card scheme.

Company cards must not be used for personal expenditure.

Rights of search

The Company has a contractual right of search in order to combat misappropriation of the Company’s property, stock losses, or if the Company genuinely believes that drugs or any illegal substances are on the premises.  The right of search is to address problems relating to the above issues.

Under the rights of search procedure the Company may carry out random checks on the identity, person, and property, including vehicles of employees at any time whilst they are on the Company’s premises or business.  It is understood that  such  checks  in  themselves  do  not  imply  suspicion  in  relation  to  the individual concerned.

You may be asked to remove the contents of your pockets, bags, vehicle, etc., and you will have the right to be accompanied by a third party who is on the premises at the time of search.

If a personal search is deemed to be necessary, you will be entitled to be searched by a member of the same sex.

Any refusal will be regarded as a refusal to carry out a reasonable instruction and will normally result in dismissal.

The Company reserves the right to call the police for assistance at any stage.

Company vehicles

The use of Company vehicles requires express Management approval and the private use of commercial vehicles requires further authorisation.  Unauthorised passengers must not be carried in commercial vehicles, nor may any vehicle be used for personal gain.

Company vehicles are insured for business use only.  Should any unauthorised personal use occur that invalidates the Company Insurance, you will be held liable for any loss suffered by the Company and the matter may be reported to the police.

Once the use of a vehicle has been approved you must ensure that the vehicle is kept clean and tidy, in a roadworthy condition, and that all normal engine and vehicle inspections are carried out at the designated intervals.  Vehicle check forms must be completed and submitted as instructed

If you have an incident involving a vehicle, whether or not personal injury or vehicle damage occurs, you must make a full written report of the incident.  All driving accidents will be investigated and if an investigation shows you to be at fault, you will be subject to disciplinary action.  The Company also reserves the right to recover an amount equal to the insurance excess from you or more based on the above if your actions have invalidated the Company’s insurance.

You must produce your driving licence before permission to use a vehicle is first given and it must be produced at regular intervals thereafter, as notified by us. Any type of driving conviction or summons must be reported immediately to Management and you agree to allow us to access your online driving licence information.

You must comply with all statutory regulations and/or Company regulations regarding the recording of daily mileage, journeys undertaken and driving hours.

Whilst you may find it necessary to use a mobile phone during the course of your work, the Company prohibits the use of hand held mobile phones while driving and will not be liable for any fines or penalties incurred by your using a Company mobile phone unlawfully.

On  termination  of  your  employment  you  must  return  the  vehicle  to  our premises.  It is an express term of your contract of employment that failure to return the vehicle will result in the cost of its recovery being deducted from any monies outstanding to you.

Failure to return the vehicle may be considered theft or taking the vehicle without consent and reported to the police.

Fines

Any fines or prosecutions arising from any motoring offence either moving or static will be your responsibility.  Notices relating to such fines received by the Company will be passed to you.  Fines not paid will be settled by the Company on receipt of the first reminder and deducted from any monies, including salary and expenses, due to you.  In this event the Company will also charge you 50% of such fines (a minimum of £5.00) as an administration fee.

Use of private vehicles on Company business

The use of your own vehicle for Company business requires authorisation.  Once authorised, you may claim a mileage allowance providing the Company has agreed the travel in advance.

You are responsible for ensuring that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, with a valid MOT certificate (if applicable) and a current excise licence, and that you have adequate insurance cover in place before undertaking any business travel.  The Company will not accept any liability in the event of an accident, prosecution or fine.

7. Company policies

Equal opportunities and discrimination policy

The Company recognises that discrimination is not only unacceptable, it is also unlawful.

The Company’s aim is to ensure that no job applicant or employee is discriminated against, directly or indirectly, on any unlawful grounds.

By including this policy in the Employee Handbook, all employees are made aware that the Company will act in accordance with all statutory requirements and take into account any relevant codes of practice.

All  job  applicants  will  be  considered  solely  on  their  ability  to  do  the  job. Interview questions will not be of a discriminatory nature.

All promotions will be made on merit in line with the principles of the policy. Employees who have a disability will receive the necessary help, within reason, to enable them to carry out their normal duties effectively.

This policy will be assessed at regular intervals to ensure that equality of opportunity is afforded to all employees.

Harassment policy

The Company will not tolerate any form of harassment or bullying.

The purpose of this policy is to inform employees of the type of behaviour that is totally unacceptable and to explain what solutions there are to employees who may suffer harassment or bullying.

The Company intends to provide a neutral working environment in which no one feels threatened or intimidated.

Harassment is a discriminatory act and is also a criminal offence.  It is very difficult to define as it can take many forms, but in the main it takes the form of unwanted behaviour by one employee towards another, for example:

  • Patronising or belittling comments.
  • Comments about appearance/body/clothes.
  • Leering or staring at a person’s body.
  • Unwelcome sexual invitations or pressure.
  • Promises or threats, concerning employment or conditions, in exchange for sexual favours.
  • Displaying offensive or sexually explicit material.
  • Touching, caressing, hugging or indecent assault.

Please remember the test is that the behavior is UNWELCOME, UNINVITED AND UNRECIPROCATED.

Bullying is also difficult to define.  Obvious examples are:

  • Threats of or actual physical violence.
  • Unpleasant or over repeated jokes about a person.
  • Unfair or impractical work loading.

Procedure

If you encounter a problem of this nature, it is vital that you make the person responsible aware that his/her remarks or conduct are offensive to you.  This should be done in a simple, straightforward way.

It is recognised that complaints of harassment or bullying are often of a sensitive or worrying nature and that it may be difficult to speak directly to the other employee involved.  If this is the case, you should put your request in writing and hand it to the harasser or bully.

When or if the informal approach fails or if you believe that the harassment or bullying is of a very serious nature you must bring the matter to the attention of a  member  of  Management.    If  possible,  you  should  keep  notes  of  the harassment  or  bullying  so  that  the formal  complaint  can  be  investigated, including the date, time and whereabouts of the act.

If  you  make  a  formal  complaint  it  will  be  dealt  with  under  the  grievance procedure and where necessary, all possible actions will be taken to separate you from the alleged harasser or bully.

If you bring a complaint of harassment or bullying you will not be victimised for having  brought  the  complaint.    If  however  after  a  full  investigation,  the Company has grounds to believe that the complaint was brought with malicious intent, you will be subject to disciplinary action under the Company’s disciplinary procedure.

The Company’s appeal procedures apply to appeals against decisions made under the equal opportunities and discrimination policy and the harassment policy.

Anti-bribery policy

Introduction

The Company values its reputation for ethical behaviour and for financial probity and reliability.  It recognises that over and above the commission of any crime, any  involvement  in  bribery  will  also  reflect  adversely  on  its  image  and reputation.  Its aim therefore is to limit its exposure to bribery by:

  • setting out a clear anti-bribery policy,
  • establishing and implementing anti-bribery procedures as appropriate,
  • communicating this policy and any relevant procedures to employees and to others who will perform services for the Company,
  • undertaking appropriate due diligence measures before engaging others to represent the Company in its business dealings,
  • monitoring and reviewing the risks and the effectiveness of any anti-bribery procedures that are in place.

Policy

The Company prohibits the offering, giving, solicitation or acceptance of any bribe (whether cash or other inducement)

  • to or from any person or company (wherever they are situated and whether they are a public official or body or private person or company),
  • by any individual employee, agent or other person or body acting on behalf of the Company,
  • in order to gain any commercial, contractual or regulatory advantage for the Company in a way that is unethical,
  • or in order to gain any personal advantage (pecuniary or otherwise) for the individual or anyone connected with the individual.

This policy prohibits any inducement that results in a personal gain or advantage to the recipient or any person or body associated with them, and which is intended to influence them to take action that may not be solely in the interests of the Company or of the person or body employing them or whom they represent.

This policy is not meant to prohibit normal and appropriate hospitality or the giving of a gift on a festival or at another special time, providing they are customary in a particular market, are proportionate and are properly recorded.

Inevitably, decisions as to what is acceptable may not always be easy.  If you are in any doubt as to whether a potential act constitutes bribery, the matter should be referred to a Director before proceeding.

Employees’ responsibility

The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery is the responsibility of all employees and the Company is committed to:

  • encouraging employees to be vigilant and to report any suspicion of bribery,
  • providing employees with suitable channels of communication and ensuring that sensitive information is treated appropriately,
  • investigating instances of alleged bribery and assisting the police and other appropriate authorities in any resultant prosecution,
  • taking disciplinary action against any individual(s) involved in bribery.

Any suspicion of bribery should be reported in confidence to the Managing

Director, who has overall responsibility for bribery prevention.

Communication and representation policy

Introduction

The Company will take every step to communicate to all employees with particular respect to its products, services, and plans for the future, etc.  It also encourages employees to express their views in terms of suggestions and opinions.

Notice boards

All statutory notices, vacancies, internal information and all other matters of general interest will be displayed on the official notice board or our website. Employees wishing to display notices relating to social, sporting or domestic activities should submit them to their Manager to do so.

The Employee Handbook

All employees will be given a copy of this handbook at the beginning of their employment with the Company.  After that time a copy will always be available on the premises.

Trade Union membership and recognition

The Company recognises your right either to join or not to join a trade union of your choice.

The Company has no recognition agreement with any union and as a result no paid union officials will be allowed on the premises except for the purpose of representation at a disciplinary or individual grievance meeting or any associated appeal meeting.

The Company respectfully requests that you inform us if you are a member of a trade union body after you have started working for the Company, though you are under no obligation to do so.

Telephones (including mobile phones)

Employees in the main RGS office may use the Company’s telephone system for local  calls  within  reason  and  in  cases  of  personal  emergency.    If  possible authority should be sought from Management before the call is made and if not as soon as possible afterwards.  No employee may use a customer’s telephone system for any reason other than to call “STAFFCHECK”.   The cost of private calls made from the Company’s mobile phones must be kept to an absolute minimum.  Personal mobile phones must be switched off during working hours. The use of personal mobile phones during normal working time is in breach of the Company Policy and will lead to disciplinary action.

Postal mail

All posted mail delivered to the Company is normally opened centrally even if it is addressed as personal or has confidentiality marking.  Therefore, no personal mail  should  be  sent  to  the  Company  without  permission  (e.g.  ‘signed  for’ parcels) or personal mail sent out using the Company’s system.  Likewise, you must not use the Company telephone number as a point of contact.

Computer policy

Computer usage

Employees must keep their passwords confidential and must not disclose them to any other party or changed without the express permission of Management.

Employees  are  not  permitted  to  load  any  software  on  to  the  Company’s computer system without Management’s prior permission.

On the termination of employment, or at Management’s request, employees must return all information that they have in a computer compatible format to a nominated member of staff.

All information, programs and systems created by employees during the course of their employment with the Company will remain the property of the Company.

Employees are not permitted to play computer games in Company time or on Company terminals or laptops.

Email

The Company gives designated employees access to an email facility in order to improve business communication and efficiency.  This is the primary purpose of this facility and although personal emails are permitted, the primary purpose of this facility should be remembered.  The Company would ask its employees not to abuse the facility.

With this in mind it is important that emails are not used to spread gossip or to distribute information, jokes or graphics that are or could be said to be, any of the following:

  • sexist or sexual in nature,
  • racist or otherwise discriminatory,
  • obscene,
  • offensive,
  • defamatory,
  • malicious and/or unacceptable nature,
  • otherwise conflicting with the interests of the Company. The distribution of chain letters by email is also expressly forbidden.

Employees must not use emails to distribute information that is confidential in nature, unless the permission of the customer and/or Management has been given in advance.  Employees must not use emails to distribute anything that is copyright protected or to pursue or promote personal business interests.  If in doubt, Management guidance should be sought.

Messages sent by email could give rise to legal action against the Company.  It is therefore important that thought is given to the content of all emails and that hard copies are taken when necessary.

The Company reserves the right to retrieve messages in order to assess whether the  facility  is  being  used  for  legitimate  purposes,  to  retrieve  information following  suspected   computer   failure   or   to   investigate   alleged   acts   of wrongdoing.  The Company will not, however, monitor emails as a matter of course.

Misuse of the email facility will result in disciplinary action.

Internet use

Office employees have a duty to use the Internet responsibly.

Employees must not access or display any sites or pages that are sexually explicit or offensive.  Breach of this rule may result in dismissal.  If an employee receives  information  from,  or  accesses  any  such  site  unintentionally,  the computer must be closed down or disconnected from the network and Management must be informed immediately.

Although sensible and limited personal use of the Internet is permitted, the Company reserves the right to take disciplinary action against employees where their usage is such as to amount to an abuse of this rule.

The use of social networking sites during working time or on Company terminals or laptops is not permitted and is a breach of Company rules.

Employees using social networking sites away from work must ensure that, if adding personal news items, they do not include reference to the Company by name or by photograph, or to any employee, client, customer or any other person or organisation connected with the Company, or any of their relations or friends.  Failure to comply with this policy will be treated as a serious breach of the rules and will result in disciplinary action being taken, up to and including summary dismissal.

Any use of social networking sites that brings the Company into disrepute, or breaches the equal opportunities and discrimination policy or harassment policy, will be regarded as gross misconduct and will result in summary dismissal.

Training policy

Introduction

Day to day training is the responsibility of Management who can call on specialised skills and knowledge within the Company and from external sources for advice on training matters.

Aims

The aims of the policy are:

  • To provide induction training for all new employees, including relevant health and safety information.
  • To provide job specific training to all new employees and to existing employees who are changing job within the Company, including health and safety information.
  • To identify the longer-term development needs of those employees with potential to progress beyond their present job and to meet those needs when they are consistent with the needs of the Company.

Procedures

The procedures for training are:

  • A record will be kept for each employee showing the training received.
  • The training records will be monitored on a regular basis and the needs checked.
  • All training programmes will be monitored and revised as necessary in order to meet changing business needs.

The Company will provide any necessary training and will meet the costs involved.   However, if an employee fails to complete the training or their employment ends within two years of completing any external training course for any reason except redundancy, the employee must reimburse the cost of any training on a pro-rata basis.  Employees authorise the Company any such costs. This is an express term of your contract.

Lay off/short time working

If a situation arises where there is a reduction of work, or there is any other occurrence that affects the normal running of the business, the Company has a right to either lay off without pay other than Statutory Guarantee Pay or implement shorter working hours.  This procedure is in line with your terms and conditions of employment.

The Company also reserves the right to select the employees best suited to carry out whatever work is available.

Employees will be offered alternative work wherever possible.

Employees  who  are  laid  off  must  still  be  available  for  work  as  and  when necessary since continuity of service is not affected by any period of lay off.

The Company will pay Statutory Guarantee Pay in accordance with the current

Government regulations.

Any employee who is laid off for longer than the Statutory Guarantee Pay period will be given a letter to take to the relevant Government Agency.  Employees should then be able to sign on as temporarily unemployed, even though they will still be employed by the Company.

Redundancy policy

If a redundancy situation arises, for whatever reason, the Company will take whatever steps are reasonable in an effort to avoid compulsory redundancies, e.g.:

  • Analyse overtime requirement.
  • Change in working location.
  • Reduce hours.
  • Lay off with Statutory Guarantee Pay.
  • Ask for voluntary redundancies, whether anyone has plans to retire or is considering a career move.

If compulsory redundancies are necessary, employees will be involved and consulted at various meetings to discuss selection criteria, any alternative positions, and be given every opportunity to put forward any views of their own.

Employees will be given the opportunity to discuss the selection criteria drawn up.  The Company reserves the right to reject any voluntary applications for redundancy if it believes that the volunteer has skills and experience that need to be retained for the future viability of the business.

Data protection policy

The Company records relevant employee information on its personnel systems. These systems are both manual and computerised and employees have the right to access all their data if it is stored in a “relevant filing system”, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.  Employees wishing to see their records must submit a request in writing to their Manager.  A charge of £10.00 will be made for any requests and a minimum written notice period of seven days must be given for arrangements to be made to view the information.  A further charge may be applicable should you wish to copy any information from your records.

Drugs and alcohol policy

The  Company  is  committed  to  maintaining  a  healthy,  safe  and  productive working environment for its employees.   The Company recognises the impact that drugs and alcohol may have on an individual’s ability to work safely and correctly and the Company aims to ensure a working environment free from the inappropriate use of substances and where employees are able to carry out their duties in a safe and efficient manner.

The use of drugs or the consumption of alcohol by employees is inappropriate at any time during working hours and before work.  If an employee’s doctor prescribes drugs that may affect their ability to perform work, the employee must discuss this with their Manager.

The dispensing, distribution, possession, use, sale or offering to buy controlled drugs or alcohol at work is prohibited.  Any such activity (including reasonable suspicion) will be reported to the police.  Any employee found to be in breach of these rules will be liable to disciplinary action that may result in dismissal.  This will apply whether or not there is any actual threat to health and safety.

Smoke-free policy

It is illegal to smoke in enclosed or substantially enclosed workplaces and the Company has a policy that prohibits smoking throughout the entire workplace with no exceptions, including commercial and ‘pool’ vehicles and includes customer’s premises.  This policy applies to all employees and to visitors to the premises.

It is considered a breach of disciplinary rules for any Company employee to smoke on any customer premises at any time, regardless of customer site policies.

Failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution.

Dress code policy

Employees represent the Company whenever they meet customers and suppliers and employees’ appearance should be smart and businesslike at all times.

Employees who have been given a uniform or name badge must wear them at all times whilst on the Company’s business or work premises.  Uniforms must be kept clean, pressed and presentable.

Any personal protective equipment that is issued by the Company must be worn at the relevant time.  Failure to wear this equipment may result in disciplinary action.

Employee Handbook receipt

This Handbook has been drawn up by the Company to provide you with information on employment policies and procedures.  It is important for you to read the Handbook carefully as this, together with your Contract of Employment, sets out your main terms and conditions of employment.

The information covers a wide range of subjects relating to your employment and in the event that information in this Handbook conflicts with terms and conditions as stated in your Contract of Employment, the Contract will take precedence.

If you have any questions or any part of the Handbook is unclear to you, please do not hesitate to raise any queries with Management.

It is important that you do this before signing that you have read, understood and are willing to abide by all the Company’s terms and conditions.

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