Adopt, adapt and apply: The power of policies

Adopt, adapt and apply: The power of policies

Workplace policies help guide employees about the systems and processes that make for a safe workplace. Here's how they can provide guidance about what is and is not acceptable behaviour.

Policies are useful documents to rely upon when a dispute arises between an employer and employee. Where an employer can point to a policy that shows an employee ought to have known what their responsibilities were in relation to a disputed matter, the employer is likely to be in a much stronger position if that matter comes before a tribunal or court.

Some employment laws require a policy to be in place and the best example of this is under work health and safety legislation. However, most real estate businesses will also have policies in place relating to matters not mandated by law. These policies will generally relate to an agency owner’s expectations about what constitutes an acceptable standard of behaviour. It’s essential that all policies are fully understood by both management and employees.

Developing and implementing policies that deal with the workplace behaviour of employees and what their responsibilities are in relation to the employer and company property, are an integral part of good business practice. These policies are often found in an Employee Handbook or Policy and Procedure Manual, and tell employees what is expected of them and the consequences in the event of a breach.

These policies can deal with things like dress standards, language, alcohol, drugs, confidentiality, harassment, bullying, fighting, and computer and internet usage. They can also be developed to inform employees about employment conditions, entitlements and benefits; for example, applying for leave, absenteeism and the use of company property (such as cars and phones).

Unlike the terms contained in an employee’s contract of employment, company policies are more easily modified as the needs of the business change.

Template policies

If you want to develop a particular workplace policy or would like to review an existing policy, go to the REEF People Management System. The suite of template policies available via the system have been developed with your needs in mind and will contribute to your workplace values.

You can simply adopt the template policies in full. Alternatively, if a policy doesn’t suit your particular circumstances or presents too great a compliance burden, you can modify it or simply not use it at all.

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Need help?

If you’d like to discuss workplace policies, or you need help developing and implementing a particular policy that’s not available via the REEF People Management System, please call 1300 616 170 or email

By Greg Paterson – REEF Membership Services Director


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About REEF

The Real Estate Employers' Federation is the real estate industry’s leading not-for-profit employer and workplace relations advisory association. It has more than 1600 members and subscribers across Australia.

Each year, REEF receives more than 20,000 calls from real estate employers needing help and guidance on matters affecting the employment relationship.

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