As small or medium sized business owners you have a lot on your plate, to say the least!  You have some employees, but don’t consider yourself to be a large employer.  Maybe you have 5 employees or maybe you have 10, or maybe you have 50 or even a few hundred.

The one thing you all have in common is that you have employees-it’s not just you anymore!  And that’s great, but have you thought to yourself, maybe I should have some Employee Policies in place?

You are probably thinking only the big guys have policies and it’s usually a binder full of policies that don’t apply to me because I am much smaller-I am only 5 employee’s so I can make those later.  Right?

MKS HR recommends having the policies you need from a legislative standpoint, and also having some core ones any business, regardless of size should have.  By legislative, I mean the policies that, by law, you have to have in place because of the sure fact you have employees-yes even if it’s 2!

Based on Employment Standards of Ontario you need to have the following policies:

  • Health and Safety policy
  • Workplace Violence & Sexual Harassment
  • AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act)
  • Vacation policy

The rest of the policies that you would need if you have 1-5 employee’s are:

  • Progressive Discipline Policy
  • Employee Code of Conduct
  • Dress Code Policy
  • Termination policy

Out of the second set of policies the Progressive Discipline Policy is the most important one for any business to have.  This is because this policy sets out the approach taken by your organization on discipline rather than determining it after the fact.  Some things you need to consider are what kinds of behaviour or problems could result in immediate termination (after a proper investigation of course, which is the progressive part of the policy).  Does the manager/supervisor need approval of their manager/supervisor before implementing progressive discipline?   What is the minimum number of verbal or written warnings that are given before moving to the next stage of the process?

Once you have decided on this and established the policy and process, you will need to train all the managers/supervisors on the process so they know how to apply it fairly, consistently and appropriately.  Next you will have to communicate it clearly to your employees and ideally get them to sign off on the policy (and all your company policies for that matter) so it’s been documented they have read it, understood it and will abide by it.

Next the Employee Code of Conduct is another good policy for any business to have because it clearly states the conduct that will not be tolerated at your company and the consequences if that sort of thing happens.  This and the Progressive Discipline policy go hand in hand nicely and is why MKS HR recommends any sized business should absolutely have these 2 policies in place.

The Termination policy is also another good policy to have because it outlines what the procedure is, in the event an employee has to be let go from your organization.  In Canada employers have a basic right to terminate an employee, but that right comes with responsibilities.  As an employer, you must comply with Employment/Labor Standards and Human Rights legalisation for your jurisdiction.  Beyond that, employers must treat employees fairly and in good faith as defined by common law or civil law if you reside in Quebec.

Whichever jurisdiction you reside in within Canada there are minimum standards for periods of notice for termination without cause and requirements for compensation in lieu of notice.  This is why it’s important to have a policy that outlines this to your employees.

So now you know what policies you need to have by law, and which ones are important to have regardless of your size-we at MKS HR want to make your life as a small business owner easier.  We put together a Guide that explains in a bit more detail more of the policies mentioned in this blog.  To download the Guide to Employee Policies just click here!

Do you still have questions or would like MKS HR to help you in putting these policies together?  Click here to book a free 45 minute consultation call with MKS HR.