Contracts of Employment
Whenever an employer hires an employee, a contract of employment is formed. The terms of that employment contract can be verbal or written, or both, and expressly agreed between the parties or implied by their conduct.
Every employment relationship should be the subject to a carefully worded contract agreed between the parties and signed before the employment commences.
Key clauses in an employment contract include:
- Clearly defined role and position description;
- Location of work and ability to change;
- Probationary period and term;
- Hours of work and overtime;
- Salary or wages and process for Determining increases and bonuses;
- Notice of termination;
- Confidentiality of key information both during and post employment;
- Post employment restraints;
- Key expectations and obligations of employee;
A contract of employment cannot derogate from any applicable award or enterprise agreement, however, an employee and employer may agree to offset conditions in an award or enterprise agreement, as long as the extra money being paid was sufficient to fully meet the employer’s award obligations.
When it comes to employment contracts- the old adage that a ‘stitch in time saves nine’ certainly applies: employers are best off ensuring they have properly constructed contracts, and employees need to ensure they understand and agree to the terms of these contracts, before the employment starts, to make sure that the relationship doesn’t end up in court if things break down between the parties.