Just a fifth of employers are confident they are fully compliant with all regulatory requirements, research finds.
A survey, by corporate policy specialists PolicyMatter, identifies an alarming lack of clarity among organisations when it comes to compliance with key legislation and industry regulations.
Almost 70 per cent of the more than 100 organisations polled were unable to say for certain whether employees had seen policies or not.
Overall, 50 per cent of respondents stated that their firms made no effort to check that employees had actually read corporate policies.
Almost half of the organisations surveyed reported that, while they did not currently track policy deployment and acceptance, they would like to.
Only 15 per cent of organisations claim to already record the signing of all policies by employees.
PolicyMatter legal expert, Nathan Millard, believes there are two main reasons why organisations would be unsure about their compliance status.
“The first problem is keeping abreast of the latest legal and regulatory requirements - a lot of guidelines and corporate policies become ineffective as case law changes and new legislation is introduced.
"Also, organisations are still not taking adequate steps to ensure they can prove employees are aware of their obligations and have ‘signed-up’ to abide by the firm’s policies,” he said.
The most popular policy deployment vehicle highlighted by 33 per cent of respondents is the employee handbook.
Other popular policy deployment methods include hard copies (31 per cent), intranet (18 per cent) and e-mail (13 per cent).
“Now is the time for organisations to find a way of ensuring up-to-date policies are read, understood and accepted by all employees - those firms that don’t can expect the penalties for compliance breaches to be harsh,” said Millard.
Despite the high number of organisations who admitted they were unsure of their compliance status, only 18 per cent of respondents admitted to suffering a compliance breach in the last 12 months.