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  • Does your Business Need a Staff Handbook?

    A staff handbook serves many purposes – yet surprisingly, many businesses still choose to operate without one. However, most HR professionals recommend that you provide every member of staff with a copy, as it ensures employees are familiar with all company policies and procedures.

    In this article by our employment specialist Wendy Harris, you’ll find out what a staff handbook should contain, and how it can support your business in the future.

    What is a Staff Handbook?

    Quite simply, a staff handbook is a document that’s supplied to all members of staff (preferably when they start working with you). It contains important information about your company policies and procedures, and ensures that every employee fully understands what’s expected of them – in terms of behaviour, protocol and responsibilities.

    It also outlines what actions to take in the event of any grievance or dispute, and what their entitlements are, with regards to things like maternity / paternity leave, sick leave or redundancy.

    Why Does it Matter?

    A staff handbook provides valuable protection in the event of an employee raising a grievance against your company. For example, if a member of staff quibbled their rights regarding unauthorised absence, you would be covered; as you’d have already provided them with the handbook, which outlines the company policies and procedures.

    It also ensures all team members are on the same page. There’s no room for confusion or ambiguity – everything they need to know is contained within the one document.

    What Should Your Staff Handbook Contain?

    There are no hard-and-fast rules about what your staff handbook should contain. However, here’s just a few things we recommend you include:
    • Key policies. Equal opportunities, health and safety, drugs and alcohol etc.
    • Key procedures. Disciplinary rules and procedures, grievance procedures, what happens in the event of a dismissal, redundancy procedures etc.
    • Rights. Employee rights regarding maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave (these must be in-keeping with current statutory rights).
    • Sickness and absence. Explaining what happens in the event of an authorised or unauthorised absence.
    • Data protection, email and internet policies. Fair usage of internet and email in the workplace, plus protocols relating to the protection of sensitive data.
    • Flexible / at-home working policies. Options, expectations and procedures – if applicable.
    You might also want to include information about payment and bonuses, health and insurance benefits, and workplace conduct. If you’re unsure what should feature in your staff handbook, talk to an HR professional, who will be able to draft a suitable document for you.

    Mission Statements

    Your staff handbook is also a great opportunity to share your company’s ethos and mission statement – which is a valuable motivational tool. By outlining right from the start what the company objectives are, you ensure that all staff share and understand your vision. It provides clear focus about the direction you’re taking as a company, and highlights your employee’s vital role in the process

    Professional Employment Services for Business

    If you’d like some assistance creating a suitable staff handbook for your employees, or want help with any other aspect of your HR or employment law, please contact our employment specialist Wendy Harris to explore how we can help or why not take a look at our related employment services.

    Posted: 09/09/2019
    Categories: Uncategorized

  • Proposed Sainsbury’s and Asda Merger Blocked by Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

    An intended tie-up between two of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains has been blocked and does not now look like it will go ahead.

    Merger and Acquisitions specialist, Richard James, explores the competition law aspects of the decision and why the law exists to regulate potentially anti-competitive behaviour or situations which might create market dominance.

    Posted: 25/04/2019
    Categories: News

  • Over £100 Raised in World Cancer Day Take2

    On Valentine’s Day this year we were delighted to once again collaborate with Cancer Research UK in raising money for their work towards eradicating this awful condition. Held at Solicitors Title’s Yeovil office, based at Yeovil Innovation Centre, the many businesses based at the offices enjoyed a variety of cakes whilst learning more about the work being undertaken, the impact of cancer and how you can help (including via Cancer Research UK’s Free Will Service, operated in collaboration with Solicitors Title.

    For more information about leaving a legacy gift and Cancer Research UK’s free will service, visit www.cruk.org/freewillservice or contact us

    2019 marks Solicitors Title’s 21st Anniversary year and the firm’s 6th year based in Somerset making their team accessible to local individuals and families.

    Posted: 26/02/2019
    Categories: News

  • Supporting World Cancer Day 2019; CRUK

    Together with Cancer Research UK, Solicitors Title is delighted to be holding an event on Thursday 14th February 2019 at Yeovil Innovation Centre (our Yeovil office) raising awareness around the impact of cancer, how you can help (including via Cancer Research UK’s Free Will Service) and the international research undertaken from the money raised, in support of World Cancer Day 2019.

    Cancer Research UK is working with a number of other cancer charities, through World Cancer Day, to raise awareness and further support the work that they do. Each year, funds raised support thousands of scientists, doctors and nurses to accelerate progress in the fight against over 200 types of cancer.

    Over a third of the research undertaken by Cancer Research UK into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer is funded through supporters leaving a legacy to the charity via their will; as a result we are proud to be part of CRUK’s Free Wills Service, locally.

    Sadly, one in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. The generous gifts left by people through wills help cancer charities to continue their work to beat cancer sooner.

    For more information about leaving a legacy gift and Cancer Research UK’s free will service, visit www.cruk.org/freewillservice or contact us

    2019 marks Solicitors Title’s 21st Anniversary year and the firm’s 6th year based in Somerset making their team accessible to local individuals and families.

    Posted: 16/12/2018
    Categories: Uncategorized

  • Wanting to Expand but don’t know how: Considering how to Franchise your Business

    How it begins:

    You start your own business; it may initially be for you but in time you might think about how you might grow – a natural option would be a new location. This starts a journey towards growth.  So you might hire someone in the new area.  But, after all of your hard work building your brand, money, time resources, making your product or service unique, can you really entrust your business reputation into the hands of an employee who might start doing things that are not in line with your original vision; next might come bad reviews, customer service issues, considerable management time overseeing your new location to get them back into line with your original blueprint.  So in reality, you don’t grow.  Instead, how are you going to grow without these potential issues in the way?

    The Solution:

    There is one word that alleviates all of these problems: franchising.

    Posted: 12/08/2018
    Categories: Uncategorized

  • A Toolkit and a Practical Solution for GDPR – 25th May

    We have been actively working on GDPR for almost a year now, helping clients and contacts navigate the changes that this new data protection law will bring about. Sadly, many have been misled, remain confused or, despite attending lots of seminars, are still lost as to what to do! Is this you?

    With GDPR taking effect one week today, there is little time, but there is time to address and formulate a plan to achieve compliance. And although it is about compliance, in reality it is about setting yourself apart from those of your competitors who will simply choose to do nothing.

    Posted: 18/05/2018
    Categories: GDPR

  • With Only a Month to Go: Why GDPR will be a Watershed Moment for Marketing

    As consumers, we’re tired; tired of spam, tired of being gamed into receiving marketing that, in fact, we don’t want and tired of companies that have no regard for our values and, indeed, adopting an approach that that might, in fact, lead us to engage more fully with them, if only they could get away from the old-school approach to marketing. Consumers now want engagement; they don’t want to be ‘sold to’ – the goalposts have moved; to a different pitch!

    Posted: 25/04/2018
    Categories: GDPR

  • ICO Finally granted Warrant for access to Cambridge Analytica

    It has been reported this afternoon, that after several days, including a delay due to the company in question not having an available barrister for the hearing, the Information Commissioner (ICO) has the warrant they sought to search the offices of Cambridge Analytica.

    The delay highlights the weaknesses, however, of the system designed to protect the personal information and data of individuals – something coming into sharp focus with the onset of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Bill, currently moving through Parliament, that will deal with related matters and those at the behest of nation states, that will govern the UK’s data protection regime going forward.

    After May, it is hoped that the UK regulator will have stronger powers to better protect the personal information of data subjects, as companies and businesses continue to prepare for the new rules – our own approach and practical workshops around Data Protection Advice have focused on the competitive advantages for business in fully embracing a Privacy by Design approach throughout their organisations – something we suspect that consumers (particularly given the light being shone on these issues as a result of the misuse of Facebook data within this case) will themselves embrace, exercising their stronger and new-found data protection rights.

    Posted: 23/03/2018
    Categories: GDPR

  • Where Good Data Management is no Longer Optional! #GDPR

    Terrance Murray is an experienced scaffolder and therefore presumably thought it was ok to take a risk; after all, as he might have thought, the likelihood of something going wrong would be low.

    60ft from the ground, he was wearing his safety harness, whilst working from scaffolding set against a building in Manchester. The Problem? It was not attached to anything; he got down ok but the risks to those around him were captured by a retired health and safety inspector, who photographed his antics. The Result? He now faces jail for admitting breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

    The work was being undertaken at the rear of Sunlight House, a Grade II listed building on Quay Street in the City.

    He was witnessed walking on planks with no side rail that might prevent a fall. The potential for life-threatening injuries were therefore significant, whether to him, his apprentice whom had been working below or members of the public on the ground.

    Following the hearing, an HM inspector of health and safety said: “The potential for his actions was the death of a young man. This is a situation which could easily have been avoided. He had all the right equipment.”

    Mr Murray, now facing jail, had not appreciated the significance of his actions but of course in such serious circumstances, there will be no leeway to him. The judge, at Salford Magistrates’ Court recommended he get himself a lawyer when the case comes before the court.

    With the onset of GDPR, replacing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 in May, the adoption of health and safety requirements as the default position on construction sites and other business premises is of course the norm these days. The General Data protection Regulation and its requirements will, no doubt, follow a similar path. Failing to deal with and indeed embrace GDPR, taking a positive approach to good data management, as the default position in your business, will likewise be the norm; why not get ahead and gain competitive advantage now? Take a look at Our Data Protection Advice concerning Data Management, the DPA 1998 and under the upcoming GDPR for businesses, those involved in franchising, the tech sector, care homes and even other law firms! If you are yet to complete or even start your GDPR journey, call us to see how our range of packages, workshops and in-house advice can assist you before 25 May 2018.

    Posted: 20/03/2018
    Categories: GDPR

  • GDPR: The Truth about Fines

    As awareness began to climb around GDPR, towards the end of last year, the media had focussed on the headline-grabbing fines that might be levied for those businesses found to be non-compliant – headline-grabbing indeed; but not reality for most businesses subject to GDPR. In fact, Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner herself warned last December of ‘scaremongering because of misconceptions.’

    Posted: 04/03/2018
    Categories: GDPR