Human Resources Policy and Manual Procedure
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Date: May 14th, 2023
1. Your Employment
1.1. Hours of Work
Office/Business hours are generally between 9am to 5pm Sunday to Thursday. Your hours of work will be determined by business needs and the requirements of the work you are assigned, in collaboration with your Manager. At Skills House, we take a common-sense approach to managing work hours.
1.2. Overtime and Additional Hours
If additional hours are required beyond your contracted hours of work, your manager may request you to work overtime. If you are unable to work additional or overtime hours for any reason, you should notify your Manager as soon as possible with an explanation.
1.3. Lateness for work
In case of illness, injury, or any other reasons for absence or late arrival, you must personally report the expected duration of leave to your supervisor before your normal starting time, whenever possible. If this is not possible, please ask someone to contact your supervisor on your behalf. After this, you must keep your Manager informed of your progress. Whenever possible, please schedule appointments outside your normal working hours to ensure that you are available to start work on time and contribute to the business.
1.4. Reimbursement of Expenses
Skills House will reimburse employees for pre-approved expenses properly incurred while performing their duties, subject to the Practice’s requirements. To receive reimbursement, employees must provide receipts or other evidence of payment and the purpose of each expense, as well as complete the Expense Reimbursement Form, which can be found in the Office Forms section of this Manual.
Reasonable traveling expenses incurred during the performance of an employee’s duties will be reimbursed, subject to appropriate documentation and authorization by the Practice. To ensure compliance, employees should arrange travel and accommodation through Skills House’s preferred travel supplier before departure. Generally, air travel will be in economy class, with a carrier chosen by Skills House.
2. Business Environment
2.1. Work Areas
To maintain a clean and tidy work environment, we request that you keep your workstation free of clutter and put away any items that require storage at the end of each day. We encourage the use of soft copies of files stored on the relevant shared drive electronically, and hard copies of files should be kept to a minimum. Please do not leave laptops on desks overnight unless you have access to a lockable office.
To ensure the safety and security of our premises, employees will be issued with a key/security pass for entry during and outside of normal business hours. It is your responsibility to keep the key/security pass in safe custody and to return it on demand. In the event of loss or misplacement, you must notify your manager immediately to take the necessary actions. Please ensure that all confidential/sensitive documents are locked away at night and personal belongings and valuables are secured, as personal property is not covered by Company insurance.
2.3. Kitchen and Bathrooms
The kitchen and bathroom areas should be kept clean at all times, and it is your responsibility to clean up after use. We request that you respect others by cleaning up after yourself, wash dishes immediately after use, and notify your manager immediately of any issues.
2.4. Meeting Rooms
If you need to book or use a meeting room, please ensure to inform the other team members to avoid any conflicts. Please tidy up after meetings, take away your cups, files papers, etc., place chairs back in position, and clean all work away.
To save on printing costs, we encourage double-sided printing wherever possible. Please ensure that you pick up all printed matter off the printer and stock the printer with paper. Color printing should be kept to a minimum.
2.6. Waste Bins
Please use your discretion when disposing of non-recyclable items in your waste bin, such as plastics, metal, pens, and food scraps. Please do not pour liquids into bins.
2.7. Security Disposal/Shredders
To maintain the confidentiality and security of Skills House information, please ensure that paperwork with any sensitive or confidential information is disposed of by either being shredded or placed in the locked security disposal bin. The key for this bin will be the responsibility of the Practice Manager. Documents to be placed in the security bins include but are not limited to Company Information, Client Information, Forms, Terms and Conditions, and Policies.
2.8. Noise Factor
We request that you avoid shouting at each other across the office or on site at a client and respect people’s busy periods or meeting times. If someone is engrossed in something at their computer or there are more than two people meeting with someone, it usually means they are busy. Please try to talk quietly when you are on the telephone and respect others around you.
2.9. Dress Code Policy
At Skills House, we strive to create a safe and comfortable work environment where professionalism is paramount. To maintain this atmosphere, we have established a dress code policy that promotes a professional image that aligns with the expectations of our clients and customers.
As our industry requires the appearance of trusted professionals, all employees are expected to adhere to the following dress code standards:
- Business Attire: For client-facing positions, professional business attire is required. This includes business suits, dress pants or skirts, collared shirts, and formal shoes.
- Smart Casual: For non-client facing positions, smart casual attire is acceptable. This includes collared shirts, dress pants or skirts, and dress shoes.
- Exceptions: There may be occasions where specific events require more formal attire, and employees will be notified in advance of these expectations.
- Employees are expected to maintain a neat and clean appearance at all times. Clothing with offensive language or graphics, athletic wear, shorts, sandals, or flip flops are not permitted.
We believe that by adhering to this dress code policy, we are able to project a professional image that engenders trust and confidence in our clients and customers.
3. IT, Internet, Email and Social Media Policies
3.1. Internet Use
The internet is provided by Skills House for business use. Limited private use is permitted if the private use does not interfere with a person’s work and that inappropriate sites are not accessed. Management has the right to access the system to check if private use is excessive or inappropriate.
Failure to comply with these instructions is an offence and will be subject to appropriate investigation. In serious cases, the penalty for an offence, or repetition of an offence, may include dismissal. Staff need to be aware that some forms of internet conduct may lead to criminal prosecution.
3.2. Email Use
- Email facilities are provided for formal business correspondence.
- Take care to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information. If emails need to be preserved, they should be backed up and stored offsite.
- Limited private use of email is allowed if it doesn’t interfere with or distract from an employee’s work. However, management has the right to access incoming and outgoing email messages to check if an employee’s usage or involvement is excessive or inappropriate.
- Non-essential email, including personal messages, should be deleted regularly from the ‘Sent Items’, ‘Inbox’ and ‘Deleted Items’ folders to avoid congestion.
- All emails must include the approved business disclaimer.
To protect Skills House from the potential effects of the misuse and abuse of email, the following instructions are for all users:
- No material is to be sent as email that is defamatory, in breach of copyright or business confidentiality, or harmful to the good standing of Skills House in the community or to its relationship with staff, customers, suppliers and any other person or business with whom it has a relationship.
- Email must not contain material that amounts to gossip about colleagues or that could be offensive, demeaning, persistently irritating, threatening, discriminatory, involves the harassment of others or concerns personal relationships.
- The email records of other persons are not to be accessed except by management (or persons authorised by management) ensuring compliance with this policy, or by authorised staff who have been requested to attend to a fault, upgrade or similar situation. Access in each case will be limited to the minimum needed for the task.
- When using email, an individual must not pretend to be another person or use another person’s computer without permission.
- Excessive private use, including mass mailing, “reply to all” etc. that are not part of the person’s duties, is not permitted.
- Failure to comply with these instructions is a performance improvement offence and will be investigated. In serious cases, the penalty for breach of policy, or repetition of an offence, may include dismissal.
This policy also applies to all employees, contractors and sub-contractors of Skills House who:
• Have an active profile on a social or business networking site such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat;
• Write or maintain a personal or business blog; and/or
• Post comments on public and/or private web-based forums or message boards or any other internet sites.
• This policy does not form part of an employee’s contract of employment. Nor does it form part of any contractor or sub-contractor’s contract for service.
3.3. Professional Use of Social Media
Skills House expects its employees to maintain a certain standard of behaviour when using Social Media for work or personal purposes. This policy applies to all employees, contractors and sub-contractors of Skills House who contribute to or perform duties such as:
• Maintaining a profile page for Skills House on any social or business networking site, including, but not limited to, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat;
• Making comments on such networking sites on behalf of Skills House;
• Writing or contributing to a blog, commenting on other people’s and business’ blog posts on behalf of Skills House; and/or
• Posting comments on behalf of Skills House on any public and/or private web-based forums or message boards or other internet sites.
4. Training and Development
At Skills House, we value the safety and competence of our employees. That’s why we provide adequate training to ensure they can perform their jobs effectively. We believe that training is a two-way process, and we encourage employees to actively participate in their own learning and identify any gaps in their skills or knowledge.
Training includes internal on-the-job training, written instructions such as standard operating procedures, coaching, external training and courses. Safety training takes precedence. Skills House commits to providing every employee with 10-15 training days annually.
The 3 month probationary period is a time for both the employee and the business to assess suitability, fit and competency within a role. During this period, Skills House commits to reviewing employee performance and at the end of this time ongoing permanent employment will be confirmed. The following is the procedure:
- Use system to track and monitor probationary periods
- Managers give informal and formal appraisal during the probation period.
- Give at least one formal appraisal four weeks before the end of probation.
- At the end of the probation period, complete a final probation appraisal and advise the employee of the result via a formal written letter.
6. Occupational Health and Safety
Skills House will, as far as practicable, provide a safe work environment for the health, safety and welfare of our employees, contractors, visitors and members of the public who may be affected by our work.
To do this, Skills House will:
• develop and maintain safe systems of work, and a safe working environment
• consult with employees and health and safety reps on safety
• provide protective clothing and equipment, and enforce its use
• provide information and training for employees
• assess all risks before work starts on new areas of operation, for example, buying new equipment and setting up new work methods, and regularly review these risks
• remove unacceptable risks to safety
• provide employees and contractors with adequate facilities (such as clean toilets, cool and clean drinking water, and hygienic eating areas)
Ultimately, everyone at the workplace is responsible for ensuring health and safety at that workplace. All persons responsible for the work activities of other employees are accountable for:
• identify practices and conditions that could injure employees, clients, members of the public or the environment
• control such situations or removing the risk to safety. If unable to control such practices and conditions, report these to their manager
• make sure workers use personal protective equipment (PPE), training workers to use PPE correctly
• make sure PPE is maintained and working properly
Skills House demands a positive, proactive attitude and performance with respect to protecting health, safety and the environment by all employees, irrespective of their position.
7. Manual handling policy
It is Skills House’s policy to provide all employees with a safe and healthy workplace by identifying, assessing and controlling manual handling risks. While management is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all staff, all employees must report potential and actual manual handling hazards. Never lift or manually handle items larger or heavier than you can easily support. If you are in any doubt, do not hesitate to ask for help.
7.1. Workers’ Compensation Policy
All employees may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if injured while at work. If there is an injury, the following is the procedure:
- The first priority is medical attention. The injured worker or nearest colleague should contact one of Skills House’s first aiders. For a serious injury also call an ambulance.
- Any employee who is injured on the job, experiences a safety incident or a near fail, must report the incident to their manager.
- The manager must write a report in the Register of Injuries, Incidents and Near mistakes. This standard report must include:
• employee’s name and job details
• time and date of injury
• exact location the injury/incident occurred
• how the injury/incident happened
• details of the injury/illness and the part/s of the body injured
• names of any witnesses
• name of the person entering details in the Register
• date the employer was notified
- Skills House will let the injured employee know in writing that we have received notification of any injury or illness reported in the Register.
The manager must report serious injuries to WorkSafe immediately.
8. Pregnancy at Work
8.1. Advising of Pregnancy
Skills House encourages employees to inform their manager of their pregnancy as soon as possible. However, we respect that an employee may not wish to advise us of her pregnancy earlier than the minimum notice period. We also respect an employee’s wishes regarding when it is appropriate to tell colleagues about the pregnancy. See section 9 for the Parental leave policy which is about requirements for taking unpaid parental leave, including notice periods.
8.2. Safety at Work
Skills House understands pregnancy to be a healthy and normal process and recognises that women have different experiences. When an employee notifies her manager that she is pregnant, the manager will ask the employee to let them know if they experience any changes to their work capacity during the pregnancy. The employee and her manager will then discuss what is needed to keep the employee safe at work and adjustments will be made accordingly where possible.
Options to reduce hours, change of duties, light duties, rotated tasks, provision of a chair and provision of additional breaks are common ways to ensure safety at work, and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
9.1. General Leave Policy
Unless specified otherwise, employees referred to in this policy mean permanent full-time or part-time employees. All employees are entitled to leave in accordance with the relevant awards or agreements and statutory provisions. Where the entitlements or practices in this document conflict, the applicable award, workplace agreement, employment contract or employment law takes precedence.
All planned leave has to be mutually agreed, and take into account workloads and the employee’s needs. Leave must be approved in advance, except when the employee can’t anticipate the absence. Any documents regarding leave will be kept on the employee’s personnel file.
9.2. Annual Leave Policy
Each employee is entitled to a minimum of 20 days annual leave a year (pro-rata for part-time). Leave entitlements are calculated from the date they started work and accrue in accordance with workplace relations legislation or industrial instruments. Annual leave counts towards continuous service (used when calculating long service leave). Applications for annual leave need to be lodged 4 weeks in advance.
An employee is expected to take accrued annual leave for business close down periods. If insufficient leave is accrued, Skills House may direct an employee to take unpaid leave.
Skills House will decide on a case-by-case basis whether it will agree with an employee to ‘cash out’ annual leave as permitted by workplace relations legislation or any industrial instrument.
In some circumstances, leave in advance of what leave has accrued may be approved. This is conditional on the employee agreeing to the business deducting any advance in the event of termination, or to the employee accepting leave without pay.
9.3. Personal & Sick Leave Policy
An employee is entitled to a minimum of 12 days of personal/carer’s leave every 12 months which can all be taken as carer’s leave if required. Paid personal leave accrues at the rate of 2 days per month of service and is cumulative. An employee should notify his/her manager as soon as possible if they are unable to attend work due to illness or injury. Management, at its discretion, may request evidence such as a medical certificate showing that the employee was entitled to take personal leave during the relevant period.
9.4. Applying for leave
An employee wishing to take unpaid parental leave must provide written notice at least 10 days before starting the leave (or as soon as is practicable), including the intended leave start and end dates. Leave dates or any changes of dates must be confirmed at least four weeks before the leave starts. The manager will confirm the leave and any affected entitlements such as continuous service in writing.
10. Performance Management
The goal of performance management is to continually improve employee performance and development. This process includes both formal and informal reviews and encourages a two-way dialogue between employees and management.
Annual formal performance reviews are required for all employees and will be conducted by their immediate managers. The review process should follow these steps:
- The manager and employee will agree on a date for the performance appraisal meeting to allow sufficient preparation time.
- The manager and employee will engage in an open and constructive dialogue about performance over the review period.
- Together, they will establish specific objectives and outcomes for the upcoming review period.
- Employee training and development opportunities will be discussed and considered as part of the process.
- Detailed notes should be taken during the meeting, and copies kept for future reference.
- In addition to the formal process, employees are encouraged to raise any issues or concerns as they arise.
By implementing a comprehensive performance management policy, we aim to help all employees reach their full potential, contribute to organizational success, and foster a culture of ongoing improvement and growth.
11. Performance Improvement
Skills House values employee development and recognizes that sometimes additional support is necessary to achieve high levels of performance. When an employee’s performance falls short of expectations, Skills House will provide opportunities for improvement. Should these efforts fail, Skills House may decide to end the employee’s employment.
Skills House has clear expectations for conduct and performance, which will be communicated to employees during management appraisals. If an employee does not meet these standards, corrective action will be taken, which may include training. Formal performance improvement procedures will generally only be initiated after other corrective measures have been unsuccessful.
In cases of deliberate policy or procedural breaches or misconduct, Skills House may begin improvement procedures, or, in instances of severe misconduct or policy breaches, terminate the employee.
Each employee is responsible for meeting the expected standards of conduct and performance. Skills House will provide counseling and support to assist employees in reaching these standards. Employees will be given an opportunity to defend themselves before management takes any further action.
If an employee requires reasonable adjustments to the workplace or job due to a disability, they should notify their manager. Skills House will only deny reasonable requests on justifiable business grounds.
The performance improvement procedure should follow these steps:
- Skills House will inform the employee of any deficiencies in their performance and provide an opportunity to respond.
- The manager will consider the employee’s response and determine if performance improvement action is necessary. Skills House will provide support such as training where appropriate.
- If a verbal warning is given, the manager will document the warning, including the date and their signature.
- The manager will communicate clearly the performance issue or unacceptable conduct, using specific examples and referring to the appropriate policy or procedure.
- The manager will allow the employee to respond before making a decision and consider the employee’s responses. The employee may have a support person present at such meetings.
- The manager will decide if additional action is necessary.
- If a written warning is warranted, the manager will document it and provide the employee with a copy, allowing them and their support person to sign the warning. A copy will be kept on file.
- The warning will include a clear explanation of the deficiency, the expected standard, a deadline for improvement, the support provided, and the consequences of failing to improve.
- The manager will document all meetings, training, coaching, and discussions and place a copy in the employee’s personnel file, including the date, location, and time of discussion.
- The manager will continue to support the employee and record the support provided, such as training or counselling.
- If performance or conduct does not improve, the manager will issue a final written warning following steps 4-10. This document will clearly indicate that Skills House may terminate employment if performance does not improve sufficiently and remain sustained.
Note: In some circumstances, a second or final warning may be necessary without following previous steps.
By implementing this comprehensive performance improvement policy, Skills House aims to provide employees with the necessary tools and support to achieve high levels of performance and contribute to the organization’s success.
12. Conflict of Interest
Skills House expects all employees to act in the best interests of the organization. The potential for conflicts of interest can arise when the personal or professional interests of an employee interfere with their ability to perform their duties objectively and in the best interests of the organization. All employees have an obligation to disclose actual or perceived conflicts of interest to their manager.
a. Employees must disclose any potential, actual, or perceived conflicts of interest that exist or may arise during their employment with Skills House.
b. Employees must disclose any external involvements that might cause a conflict of interest with Skills House to their manager.
c. Employees must avoid being placed in a situation where there is a potential, actual, or perceived conflict of interest if at all possible.
a. Upon disclosure, Skills House will review the potential areas of conflict with the employee.
b. Skills House and the employee will mutually agree on practical arrangements to resolve the situation.
3. Other Business Interests:
a. Employees must not set up or engage in private business or undertake other employment in direct or indirect competition with Skills House using knowledge and/or materials gained during the course of employment with Skills House.
b. Engaging in other business interests during work hours will result in strong performance improvement action.
4. Failure to Disclose:
a. Failure to declare a potential, actual, or perceived conflict of interest or to take remedial action agreed with Skills House, in a timely manner, may result in performance improvement proceedings including dismissal.
Skills House takes conflicts of interest seriously and expects employees to uphold the highest ethical standards in their professional and personal lives.
If you have any questions related to this Policy, please contact us at [email protected].