As an owner or manager of an Early Years Setting, you need to ensure your Employee Handbook is an integral part of your business from the very beginning.
We understand that most Nurseries do not have a full time Human Resources expert on site and with resources generally becoming even more limited, never before has an Employee Handbook been more crucial.
By having a concise, detailed and up to date Handbook that is tailored to your sector and company needs, it can significantly aid the smooth running of your Nursery and could also ensure you are not left open to any potentially time consuming and costly employment issues.
Why an Employee handbook is important
Having all your HR details in one place can bring many benefits to your setting, for example:-
- the ability to formalise Policies and Procedures
- setting out your Rules and Regulations
- introducing new employees to your Organisation
- a continued resource to existing staff
- aid in your Ofsted inspection
An Employee Handbook should clearly lay out the procedures and regulations to help the day to day running of your setting. If rules and policies are clearly communicated ahead of time, your staff should know what to expect and vice versa. You will also need to make sure that your handbook adheres to all government and legal regulations, especially in regards to your Policies and Procedures, hiring practices etc.
As we all know very well, there are so many regulations involved with running a nursery and these are changing all of the time. Whilst it is exceptionally difficult to have a complete list of policies to cover all situations that might arise, nurseries do need to have the most complete and up to date guide possible in the form of your Employee Handbook. By keeping it all in one place will make life much easier for all concerned, especially with the many challenges you already face in running a busy childcare setting!
We firmly believe that it is excellent practice to issue your Employee Handbook to all staff when they first start working at your Nursery. It’s a simple yet effective practice to put into place and one that could save you time and problems in the future. From our experience a lot of employment problems arise through the misunderstanding of employees as to what their rights, obligations and duties are in the work place. Your Employee Handbook can outline to all your staff what is acceptable and what is unacceptable at work and form the basis of their induction.
During your Ofsted visit, the inspector will assess staff’s understanding of your policies and procedures so many settings ask staff to sign a statement to say that they have read these documents and the Employee Handbook and agree to comply with their provisions. If there are any changes made to the Handbook, members of staff can also be asked to sign so that everyone has been made aware of the amendments.
Sections to include in your Employee Handbook
While employee handbooks will vary based on a company’s needs and legal / government requirements, we have outlined a few sections below that could help to form the basis of your Employee Handbook for your Nursery setting:-
- overview and Introduction to your Early Years Setting
- conditions of employment e.g. general work policies
- employee benefits
- policies and Procedures
- employee Acknowledgement
Maintaining your Employee Handbook
There are constant changes in Employment Legislation and the statutory rights that law says you have to provide for all employees. It can be a very time consuming topic to keep on top of and due to this, we often see employment documents that are out of date. Therefore, we really advise all settings review their Employee Handbooks every year.
If you are just in the process of introducing an Employee Handbook to your Nursery, then please do include all existing staff to ensure that everyone understands and agrees the content of your Handbook.
We really do hope that this helps you with your Employee Handbook and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help with the Policies and Procedures or other content that you would like to include.
It’s such a crucial element of your Nursery and one that we thoroughly enjoy assisting nurseries with. You never know, it could even save you a costly tribunal!
The Nursery HR People
Less HR More Learning!
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