Employment contracts – tips for employers

An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and an employee which sets out terms and conditions of their employment relationship.

Are written or verbal contracts more preferable?

Employment contracts can be made in writing or verbally. There is no statutory requirement to provide employees with the terms of employment in writing. However, always remember to check the relevant industrial instruments (enterprise agreements or modern awards). These instruments may set specific requirements in this regard and provide for additional terms of employment.

Written contracts are highly recommended. These should include the essential elements of the relationship, such as:

  • The position
  • Normal work hours
  • Location
  • Remuneration
  • How the contract is terminated

However, be aware that there are several terms implied into the contract by operation of law. For example, if the contract does not include a provision for how it can be terminated, a reasonable notice applies.

If there is no written contract, disputes about its terms and conditions may arise. In such a case, witnesses may be called and other evidence needed in order to prove the actual agreement between the parties. This process will likely be time consuming and expensive.

Types of employment contracts

There are many different types of contracts to consider when deciding on which one is right in your circumstances. The most common types of employment contracts are as follows:

Each type of engagement has different rights and obligations. You should be aware of your rights and obligations not only under the employment contract, but also under the Fair Work Act, enterprise agreement or modern award (as the case may be), and applicable case law.

Each type of contract is governed by different rules in relation to its termination, annual leave and other entitlements. Therefore, before executing an employment contract, ask yourself these questions:

How can we help you?

We will assist you with choosing the appropriate type of contract, drafting or reviewing the contractual terms as well as inform you of your rights and obligations. We will make sure that you comply with all the legal requirements. Our team consists of Denisa Zezulka, Tom Maling, Matthew Bridger and Gabby Bridger, who all have the knowledge and experience to provide you with expert legal support to ensure your rights and interests are protected.

We offer an initial consultation and contract review for a flat fee.

p: +61 2 6206 1300 | e: info@elringtons.com.au