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Is Your HR Function Compliant?

What is HR compliance?

The definition of compliance is the act of adhering to a particular law or rule or acting according to an agreement”.

All businesses regardless of size must comply with the employment law, rules and regulations.

Failing to meet your legal obligations will either be unlawful or illegal and can lead to disputes or tribunal claims. Having the correct up-to-date policies and contracts in place is essential. It is so important to get this right, many tribunal claims have been fought and won on the back of out-of-date documentation.

To help give you a clearer view, as a business you should have the following in place.

Written particulars

Anyone legally classed as an employee or worker has the right to a written document summarising the main terms of their employment.

The legal term for this document is the “written statement of employment particulars”. It includes information such as pay and working hours.

Many people think this document is the “employment contract”, but legally the contract is much broader than the written terms of their employment.

Employment contract

This is an agreement between the employee and employer. It should include the following.

  • the employer’s name

  • the employee’s or worker’s name, job title or a description of work and start date

  • how much and how often an employee or worker will get paid

  • hours and days of work and if and how they may vary (also if employees or workers will have to work Sundays, nights or overtime)

  • holiday entitlement (and if that includes public holidays)

  • where an employee or worker will be working and whether they might have to relocate

  • if an employee or worker works in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is

  • how long a job is expected to last (and what the end date is if it’s a fixed-term contract)

  • how long any probation period is and what its conditions are

  • any other benefits (for example, childcare vouchers and lunch)

  • mandatory training, whether or not this is paid for by the employer

For employees, who are changing jobs or being promoted this document must also include the date that their employment commenced with the Company as this will count towards their period of continuous employment.

Employee handbook

Sometimes known as an employee manual, staff handbook, or company policy manual.

It is a collection of employment policies and procedures used by an employer to manage their staff. It states your legal obligations as an employer as well as the employees’ rights. It could include: –

  • Equal opportunities

  • Drug & alcohol Policy

  • Health & Safety

  • Harassment

  • Whistleblowing

  • Grievance procedure

  • Disciplinary & Dismissal

  • Flexible working

  • Data protection

  • Redundancies

  • Sickness

  • Email/Internet

  • Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Parental Leave

It can also include specifics that are relevant to the business. These could include: -

  • Vehicle policy

  • Security

  • Property to be returned

  • Dress & appearance

  • Social media

  • Shortage of work/lay offs

  • Training

Policies & Forms

For companies that don’t have an employee handbook, they may have separate policies instead. All companies should by law have a disciplinary and a grievance policy and procedure, which are in line with the ACAS code of conduct.

Forms are a way to collect necessary information from the employees.

Example forms would include: –

  • New starter form

  • Payroll & personal information form

  • Holiday form

  • Sickness form

  • Company equipment


GDPR came into force on the 25th May 2018. The regulation was put into place to replace the Data Protection Act. GDPR is a legal requirement and all companies that hold or process personal data must comply.

Companies must have a valid reason for having personal data and the data should not be held for any longer than necessary.

This regulation contains 6 principles:

  • Personal data should be processed fairly, lawfully and in a transparent manner.

  • Data should be obtained for specified and lawful purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.

  • The data should be adequate, relevant and not excessive.

  • The data should be accurate and where necessary kept up to date.

  • Data should not be kept for longer than necessary.

  • Data should be kept secure.

GDPR aims to protect the personal data of EU residents through a wide range of data privacy and security requirements.

Companies have an obligation to protect personal information gathered from –

  • Employees application forms

  • Payroll information

  • Medical information

  • Personal file

Basically, any information that the employer has collected regarding any of their employee’s personal information.

It is so important to get compliance right, many tribunal claims have been fought and won on the back of out-of-date contracts and policy documentation.

Since Brexit there may be more actions required by Companies to make sure they are compliant with the GDPR you can check this by visiting the Government website:

Acorn HR Services can provide you with all the required employment documentation for your business.


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