UNDERSTANDING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

To say employment agreements & contracts are incredibly important is an understatement.  

They define the nature of the employee-employer relationship and are essential to business operation. They are, however, often also the source of most workplace problems. It’s not easy to ensure you’ve got the perfect agreement in place – one that meets all relevant legal standards, upholds all necessary obligations and entitlements, effectively conveys the terms and conditions of employment and adequately protects both the employer and the employee. As such, the crafting of an employment contract and managing the issues that arise from them can be a tricky and complex road to navigate.  

So, what should you consider when drafting or reviewing your employment agreements or contracts and how can Workplace Wizards help? Read on to find out more! 

STAFF SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

An employment agreement should clearly outline the nature of the employment relationship. Although it can be written or verbal, it is strongly recommended employers provide staff with a written contract to ensure maximum clarity of communication while also minimising the possibility of disputes over employment conditions.   

An employment agreement or contract can differ depending on several factors. These can include things such as the business industry, employment status, the applicable award that covers staff, and so on. It is crucial that businesses provide staff with an appropriate contract which clearly states the terms and conditions of employment. 

Broadly speaking, a written agreement can help employers achieve three key goals: 

  1. Help both management and staff understand employee rights, roles, and minimum conditions; 
  2. Strengthen the onboarding process and help new and existing employees perform their duties by clearly describing what is expected of them; and 
  3. Help the business operate efficiently, by providing staff with confidentiality and behavioural standards they must comply with. 

This not only clarifies employee expectations, but it can also protect the business. For example, some staff may behave in a manner that severely violates the terms and conditions of employment. In this event, the contract will outline what action can be taken. 

WORKPLACE WIZARDS CAN HELP DEVELOP EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

While many businesses understand the importance of having a comprehensive employment contract or agreement in place, some struggle with developing one or simply use a template they found online. 

Businesses should provide staff with a standard employment contract that meets the National Employment Standards. It should also address the full terms and conditions of employment, and businesses should ensure employees understand them. 

Workplace Wizards’ employment law consultants and lawyers have years of experience in reviewing, drafting and developing comprehensive, legally defensible, employment contracts. We can help businesses create detailed, compliant employment contracts which clearly state: 

The full position description – including working hours, stated duties, whether the role offers flexible working arrangements, and so on. 

Businesses not providing this increases the chances of employee disputes, by claiming a set task falls outside their designated duties. 

Remuneration and hours of work. What employees are paid will vary depending on their industry, work type, and other pertinent matters.  

For example, casual employees are typically paid by the hour, meaning that if they work overtime, they get remunerated accordingly. An employment contract should clearly state remuneration conditions, minimising potential disagreements over hours. 

Staff code of conduct and non-disclosure obligations. 

For example, many employees are active on social media outside of work hours. Businesses that work with confidential information usually have a policy about not discussing work matters on social media. An employment contract should clearly outline expected staff behaviour, and what action may be taken to address serious misconduct. 

Paid leave entitlements, unpaid leave, pandemic leave, working from home policies, and so on. 

Post-employment restraints.  

This clearly outlines what actions a former employee is restricted from taking, over a specified period, upon concluding their employment. This could also include contacting former clients or asking a former colleague to come work with them at a competitor. 

By clearly describing the terms and conditions of employment in writing, businesses will develop an informed and supportive work environment, where both the employer and employee are protected.  

CONTACT WORKPLACE WIZARDS FOR EXPERT ADVICE

Employers contact Workplace Wizards for help with several employment contract matters. They may want help ensuring that they are meeting their legal and modern award obligations and/or want assistance in developing a fair contract for staff. Others want assurance that the employment contract reflects the business’s best interests regarding confidentiality, disciplinary procedures, and so on.  

For a quick, no-obligation consultation about how we can help your business with this matter, call Workplace Wizards today on 03 9087 6949 today or email at support@workplacewizards.com.au. Our team of Melbourne based employment contract lawyers and consultants can answer your queries, explain the particulars of employment contracts, and discuss what actions your business could be taking. We can also advise on other relevant matters, including enterprise agreements, and complying with the Fair Work Act 2009. We look forward to discussing these matters with you. 

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