Employment agreements are the foundation of good working relationships. It’s professional for a business to have them and it’s an opportunity to document employee and employer obligations.
It’s often the first formal communication with a new employee and it’s important to make it count. Avoid using legalese. Instead, use plain English and a friendly tone, to explain any legal stuff clearly and simply. It’s important to make a good impression.
2. They don’t break trust, they build them
Putting things in writing for some means that they have to talk openly and honestly with their employee. Sometimes this is confronting and uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be!
If you want to avoid miscommunication and legal headaches in the long-term, it makes good business sense to have a robust contract in place. Documenting information about the employee, the role, the remuneration, leave entitlements and terms of employment ─ including termination terms ─ safeguard your business and ensures you and your employee have a mutual agreement.
3. It’s legal
Employment contracts don’t need to be complicated. At a minimum you must advise your employees of what Award and classification governs their employment. It’s a legal requirement. The Fair Work Commission provides a list of Awards for each industry.
What you include in your contracts should be tailored to your business. Consider including information around confidentiality, intellectual property, additional employment benefits and special provisions. The list is never ending. Make sure that content is clear and concise.
It’s also legally binding once signed by both parties and can only be changed by mutual agreement. Also, employment contracts cannot provide less benefits to an employee than what the employee is entitled to under their relevant Award. Keep it legal so you don’t get in trouble.
Finally, make sure your employee signs and returns a copy of the contract and you place this on his/her employee file. They should also keep their own copy.