What is a Staff Handbook? 

You’ll probably find it surprising, but there is a huge number of business owners that we speak with who have no idea on what a Staff Handbook is!


They may even have one in the businesses somewhere but it’s never really been anything other than a box ticking exercise and it isn’t used to deliver any formal processes so is never seen and probably collecting dust under a huge pile of used printer paper.

To answer the question about what is a Staff Handbook is relatively easy…

A Staff Handbook is a blue print, guide and manual for the key HR and Employment Law policies, procedures and working practices of your business. It provides clear, concise information to your staff (including the line managers in the business) and details exactly the standards that the business expects of them.

A good Staff Handbook should cover two primary sections:

  • Policies and Procedures that cover Statutory Legislation
  • Policies and Procedures that cover best practices guidelines (a.g. ACAS)
  • Specific business process policies

Policies and Procedures that cover Statutory Legislation:

The key to any Employee Handbook is to make sure it serves a purpose and is used as it should be. Statutory Legislation are regulations and laws that cover particular areas of everyday life and detail the responsibilities of both the business and the staff. All business have responsibilities to their staff and have to ensure that employment laws are followed.

Particular areas of Statutory Legislation that needs to be covered in your Handbook include:

  • Maternity Leave (covering things like Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), timescales for leave etc)
  • Paternity Leave (covering things such as Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), timescale for leave etc)
  • Sickness and Absence (covering things such as Statutory Sick Pay, timescales for sickness, when formal doctors notes are required etc)
  • Shared Parental Leave

The above isn’t an exhaustive list however it should demonstrate the need to make sure your business has an up to date, compliant Staff Handbook that is in-line with legislation and statutory payments rates.

In our next article, we will look in the second of the sections that need to be covered in your Handbook, the Policies and Procedures covering best practice guidelines.