An employee or staff handbook is a document that sets out all the rules, policies, procedures and other information that may relate to the workplace from time to time, and which are not typically included in an employment contract.
An employer must ensure that such a handbook is sufficiently detailed, yet clear and easy to understand, for an employee to have a full understanding of his rights and duties at the workplace.
Staff handbooks are typically created by employers on a non-contractual basis, reserving the right for employers to unilaterally revise, adjust and adapt staff handbooks in line with their exigencies and requirements from time to time, but in compliance with their statutory duties and respect for employee rights.
Another common feature of employee handbooks is that such documents tend to present a flexible policy framework that may be changed, adapted or even disapplied by the employer in certain predefined cases, but always within the limits of the applicable law.
Ultimately, a staff handbook gives the employer an opportunity to set out certain policies, standards and procedures that its employees will be expected to follow, and which the employer may not realistically include in an employment contract. The staff handbook should be the employee’s principal reference document that complements his employment contract, by providing guidance to the employee on his expected conduct at the workplace as well as his entitlements as an employee.
A staff handbook should be drafted in such a manner as to give maximum flexibility to the employer to make any adjustments that may be required to suit the employer’s business and workplace realities from time to time, without breaching any employment contract and always within the parameters permitted by applicable law.
The employer should also consider situations in which it may want to reserve any entitlement to unilaterally depart from any policy or rule that may be set out in the staff handbook, without requesting the employee’s prior consent. At the same time, the staff handbook should balance the employer’s flexibility and business requirements with a respect of its employees’ rights and entitlements as may arise from the contract of employment and also in terms of applicable law.
At Empleo, we provide legal advice to employers on all matters outlined above, including advice on the form and preparation of staff handbooks.
Some of our services in this area include the following:
You may get in touch with us here to request an initial free legal consultation in relation to any of the matters outlined above.
Mariella graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in law in 2005. She completed a master’s degree in ‘European Private Law’ from the La Sapienza, University of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in Malta in 2006.
Mariella is a people person – and it is this attribute which has really characterised and shaped her career.
Over the years, she headed the legal departments of several corporate services firms. Due to her skillset, she was also entrusted with managing and overseeing operations and human resources, where she gained technical and practical experience in various corporate, commercial and employment matters.
Her practical hands-on experience and insight perfectly complement Mariella’s technical knowledge of employment law, thus placing her in an ideal position to understand and advise employers and employees alike on various matters that may arise at the workplace.
Mariella is passionate about employment law matters and provides her clients with the highest-quality legal service to achieve the best possible outcome and resolve any employment law related issues and concerns.
Bradley graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006. He advises clients on various corporate, commercial, employment and regulatory matters, with particular focus on company and financial services law.
He has assisted clients in various corporate and commercial matters by providing company law advice and assisting in the implementation of corporate finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and similar transactions.
Bradley has also advised and assisted investment funds, fund managers and other investment services providers, banks and financial institutions, on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the setting up, authorisation and ongoing conduct of their activities in Malta.
His practice also covers general employment law matters. Bradley’s experience in company and financial services law enables him to focus on various corporate and regulatory aspects of employment relationships. In particular, he advises organisations on the implementation of employee share option and participation schemes, the implications of business transfers on employment relationships, as well as relations with senior employees.
Karl graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006.
Karl has gained considerable expertise in technology law and regularly assists clients in relation to intellectual property issues, commercial contracts and ways to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy laws. Whilst such matters used to be only given incidental importance when dealing with employment matters, they are now widely acknowledged to be vital in all employment relationships.
He is also regularly engaged by C-level executives to assist in negotiating employment contracts and settlement agreements.
Karl advises across a multitude of industries including technology; marketing; adtech; financial services; gaming; esports; consumer products; and media and telecommunications.