A Contract of Employment is a legally binding agreement that sets out the terms and conditions of employment between an employer and an employee. Employment contracts are important as they set out the agreed terms in writing and therefore give both parties a clear understanding of their obligations in the employment relationship.
Importantly, many modern awards, including the Modern Vehicle Award and the Modern Clerks Award, now require employers to agree in writing to the terms of employment in relation to part-time work. It is good practice for any employment relationship to be documented in writing and not left to a verbal undertaking which largely relies on memory and good faith. In these circumstances one has to rely on the understanding of the parties involved at the time on what was actually agreed to and this can be difficult to prove, often with costly consequences.
An employment contract can be a comprehensive and legalistic document, or a simpler and less legalistic agreement to cover award based employees. It is important however, that critical terms and conditions, such as, the employment status, position, salary/wage rate, hours/days of work and probationary terms are covered in the document. Where over-award rates are paid, it is also necessary that properly constructed offsetting provisions are included to protect against underpayment claims. Any special conditions such as the requirement to have a particular licence or qualification, or any agreed on-call arrangements, should also be included.
Other important employment related documents that members need to establish in the workplace include time & wage records, leave accruals, pay slips, termination of employment advices (all of which are mandatory requirements), job descriptions, policies and procedures, and counselling and warning records.
The MTA can assist members with sample Contracts of Employment and the other documents referred to above, which can be modified to suit the needs of the business. Members interested in discussing this matter further are requested to contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations Department by clicking here.