Welcome to Part 2 of What to include in an Employee Handbook where we look at the various leave options to which employees, both permanent and casual, are sometimes entitled, and the kinds of guidelines with respect to dress code that should be covered in the Employee Handbook.

Leave Entitlements

Leave entitlements, the provision of which is governed by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), should be fully explained to employees in the Employee Handbook. Any requests for leave are usually directed towards the manager of the Business with some minimum notice requirements attached. Some Employee Handbooks will specify an exact number of days, whereas others may simply dictate that leave requests be made “in a timely fashion”.

Make sure you note that contractors and casual employees are not entitled to paid leave and will not receive payment for public holidays not worked. Here is a rundown of some of the leave entitlements that are worth mentioning in the Employee Handbook:

Annual Leave

Annual leave accrues over time for permanent part-time and permanent full-time employees. The Employee Handbook should explain that the number of days of annual leave to which an employee is entitled, and the manner in which this leave is accrued, is to be set out in the employment contract.

Personal Leave and Carer’s Leave 

Employees are also entitled to take paid personal and carer’s leave if they are not able to work because of illness or injury to either themselves or a member of their immediate family who requires their assistance. The Employee Handbook should clarify that employees seeking to take such leave are first required to notify their manager of any request for leave of this nature.

Typically employees are also required to provide the manager with a medical certificate if they take more than one day of personal or carer’s leave.

In the handbook, employees should be made aware that abuse of the personal and carer’s leave system may lead to disciplinary action from their employer.

In keeping employees fully informed, it is also important to include that the Fair Work Act currently states that employees will accrue ten days personal/carer’s leave during each year of employment, which accumulates from year to year. Many employees are not aware of the fact that once all of their carer’s and personal leave has been used up, an employee may seek two additional days. It is important that this information is made available in the Employee Handbook.

Statutory Parental Leave

Employees are entitled to take statutory parental leave, in accordance with applicable legislation. Any additional parental leave will be at the discretion of the business owner.

Jury Service and Other Community Service Leave

Some employees will need to take time off work to fulfill their jury duty obligations. The provisions of the Fair Work Act and other applicable legislation govern the entitlement to jury and other community service leave.

Long Service Leave

As with other types of leave entitlement, the Employee Handbook should require employees to notify the manager or business owner if they plan on taking long service leave.

Unpaid Leave

It is also possible for employees to apply for unpaid leave. Any such application should be made to the manager, and should the Business grant the employee unpaid leave, it should never constitute any change to the terms and conditions of your employment.

Dress Code and Safety Gear

Dress codes and safety standards are important to any business. Communicate what you expect of employees while at work. The dress code and safety standards for certain employees may vary according to roles in the Business. Identify the various standards for the different employees. Otherwise, make sure there is a provision in the Employee Handbook that requires employees to ask the manager about the appropriate dress and safety code for their role. Clarify that improper attire may result in the manager requiring the employee to get changed into more appropriate clothing. To manage staff and ensure everyone comes to work dressed appropriately, insert a provision that cautions employees about repeat occurrences of inappropriate dress and lack of safety gear, which can result in disciplinary action including, ultimately, dismissal.

Conclusion 

An Employee Handbook usually addresses all of the issues addressed in the employment contract that apply to all the employees in a business. If you need an employment lawyer to assist you drafting this document, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755. Our team would be happy to assist you! Stay tuned for Part 3 of What to include in an Employee Handbook.

Lachlan McKnight

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