There will be times in a company’s lifecycle when a disciplinary procedure is necessary. While it should be the goal of every business to take steps towards preventing a decrease in performance, or particularly poor behaviour, the reality is that disciplinaries have an important part to play in the running of a business. This is where having a well-thought-out disciplinary policy comes into play.
What is this disciplinary policy template?
The basics: This disciplinary policy establishes a framework for maintaining standards of conduct and performance within an organisation. It outlines a fair and transparent procedure for addressing allegations of misconduct or poor performance among employees. The key goals are to promote fairness, consistency, and positive behaviour while addressing issues constructively.
Communication: If you do need to initiate a disciplinary procedure, you’ll need a suite of documents that will help you communicate the process clearly. Given the sensitive nature of this process, clear communication is key. A disciplinary policy not only helps protect the company's interests but also ensures that employees are treated equitably and transparently.
Purpose of this disciplinary policy template: While you would use a disciplinary letter to confirm the initial meeting for disciplinary action, you’ll need a document that sets out how your company intends to respond to this procedure, and what justifies disciplinary action. For that, you’ll need a disciplinary policy.
Content: This disciplinary policy template sets out how an employer responds where the behaviour or performance of its employees has fallen below its expectations. A disciplinary process is instigated by the employer. A policy typically sets out examples of what act or omission may result in disciplinary action. It should include time scales to help manage parties’ expectations and identify what happens when the disciplinary process has been exhausted – this helps provide certainty to everyone involved.
For more information about the importance of a fair disciplinary process, check out this blog.
Benefits of using this disciplinary policy template
Structured process: This disciplinary policy template provides a structured and step-by-step process for addressing disciplinary issues, ensuring that both employees and management understand the sequence of actions to be taken, which helps prevent confusion or inconsistency in handling such matters.
Fair and transparent procedure: This policy promotes a fair and transparent disciplinary procedure, which is essential for maintaining trust and fairness in the workplace.
Promotes accountability: By outlining clear consequences for misconduct or poor performance, the template promotes accountability among employees. This clarity can discourage inappropriate behaviour and encourage employees to meet expected standards.
Consistency: This template promotes consistency in how disciplinary matters are handled across the organisation. This consistency ensures that employees are treated fairly.
Employee awareness: This disciplinary policy template serves as an educational tool, making employees aware of the organisation's expectations regarding conduct and performance standards. It provides information on the consequences of misconduct, encouraging employees to adhere to company policies and avoid breaches in the first place.
The ACAS Code of Practice and its impact
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (known as Acas for short) Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures sets the minimum standard of fairness that workplaces should follow.
If an employee brings a case to the employment tribunal, the employment tribunal will consider if the employer followed Acas' Code of Practice and can adjust awards by up to 25% if either party unreasonably fails to comply with the Code.
This disciplinary policy template sets out the steps that will be followed when an employee is underperforming or there is an alleged issue of misconduct. For this reason, a well-crafted disciplinary policy that is aligned with Acas' guidance, emphasising fairness and reasonableness, is essential for every business.
Key sections within this disciplinary policy template
Overview of the policy: This section sets out the rules for maintaining standards of conduct, ensuring fairness, and dealing with misconduct or poor performance within the business.
Informal warnings: This section explains that minor breaches of company standards or performance may lead to informal, verbal warnings aimed at helping employees improve their conduct or performance without formal disciplinary action.
Formal procedure: This section describes the investigation process that must be carried out before any disciplinary hearing, emphasising that no formal disciplinary action will be taken without a hearing.
Disciplinary meeting: This section details the disciplinary meeting process, including notice, provision of information, and the option for the employee to be accompanied.
Disciplinary actions: This section explains the stages of disciplinary action, including first written warnings, final written warnings, and dismissal. For more detailed information about the different types of disciplinary actions, check out this checklist.
Gross misconduct: This section defines gross misconduct and highlights examples that typically result in summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice.
Appealing against disciplinary action: This section outlines the process for employees to appeal disciplinary decisions, including the timeframe for submitting an appeal and the right to bring a colleague or trade union representative to the appeal hearing.
For more in-depth guidance about what to consider when drafting your disciplinary policy, check out this checklist.
Why use Docue's disciplinary policy template?
Simple: With Docue, you can create your own disciplinary policy easily and quickly. All you have to do is answer a series of questions, and the disciplinary policy template will be updated in real time.
Created by lawyers: The disciplinary policy has been created and is continuously maintained by qualified lawyers. It contains fully customisable sections that enable you to tailor the template to your business needs.
Transparent pricing: At Docue, we believe in transparent and cost-effective pricing without any hidden fees. You can check out our pricing here.
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