It seems logical that when you hire someone, you include the terms of their employment and their remuneration in an employment contract so that both employer and employee understands their rights, role, responsibilities and remuneration.
Time and time again we see business who don’t have employment contracts in place with their employees. Perhaps just as surprising is the fact that a lot of employees don’t also insist on them.
Why they’re Essential
So let’s have a think about why an employment contract is essential for every employee in your business.
Employment contracts spell out for both employer and employee the terms of the employment. As an employer, failing to put your employment terms in writing can have serious ramifications.
If you’ve ever spent time reading your industries employment award you’ll know that most awards include a paragraph that refers to certain “flexibilities” in terms of how your business applies things like leave loading, overtime, allowances, etc.
However, if you don’t have these items clearly documented and agreed to by both parties then don’t expect any sympathy for Fairwork should a dispute come up between employer and employee.
It’s also important that any flexibilities worked into the terms of your employment contract don’t result in the employee being any worse off than they would be under the terms of the award.
Setting Clear Expectations
Policies and procedures define the expectations an employer has of their employees. If you expect your employees to adhere to a certain dress code, maintain a vehicle to a level of cleanliness, or apply for leave within a reasonable time frame, then having documented policies and procedures in place will ensure everyone understands what is or isn’t expected of them.
What to do if you don’t have any in place?
So what if you don’t currently have contracts, policies and procedures in place?! The following is a few options for you to consider to if you’re a bit behind the 8 ball in this department:
- For employment contracts, you can reach out to a lawyer to prepare employment contracts for your staff, which is ok if you’re looking for a customised employment contract. Obviously engaging a lawyer for anything is never a cheap process.
- If your industry has an association body they can be an excellent resource for both employment contracts and policies & procedures.
- Businesses like Employsure will help your business with these areas as well as OH&S, ongoing HR advice, legal representation and insurance for associated costs in the event of an employee lodging a claim against you, the employer.
- Lastly, there’s some great HR software products now available that include templated contracts and policies & procedures. This is a fast, easy and affordable way to get up to speed in this department. Take a look at Employment Hero if this is the path you choose to go down.