3 reasons you should ACTUALLY read your staff handbook

On your first day of a new job you’ll be given to or directed toward some version of a staff handbook. It’ll have all of the normal rules and boundaries you’d expect. Stuff about dress codes, ethics and notice giving. You know, all the logistical stuff. However, there is a lot more to these handbooks than meet the eye!

As The Guardian report, there’s a lot going on with the fine print in staff handbooks right now. With rewording cases being drawn up every day to clarify employment rights and things like ‘modern slavery’. Even the definition of workers is being reneged as a result of the ‘gig economy’ with cases involving couriers and Uber drivers.

The issue being, as with most office confusions, staff handbooks are usually too thick and dull. Most give it a once over and throw it in a draw to collect dust.

Here are three reasons you should dig out that staff handbook and give it some proper dedication.

1. By the time you need it, it’s already too late

The same Guardian writer spoke to Jon Curtis, employment partner at Ironmonger Curtis LLP. He has this to say: “Often the first time an employee reads the policies in the staff handbook is when they have a problem at work and they’ve been to see an employment lawyer who asks to see the documents”. In Layman’s terms: “Too little, too late”.


2. Employee rights

This isn’t the sexiest issue but is of paramount importance. There are so many underlying policies you’re working with that might not effect you now but might do in the future. Things like family friend policies, sick allowance, expenses, social media policy and loads more!

3. Tips and tricks

It sounds silly but think of your staff handbook as a little cheat-sheet. As well as all the boring rules and responsibilities, the handbook will give you insider information like how to get out of work to volunteer and how to make the most of your flexible working.