Make your contract of employment work for you
What is a Contract of Employment
A contract of employment is a legal requirement for all employees who wish to legally work for an employer. Although required by law, a contract of employment will not necessarily be given in writing between the two parties, although it will remain a valid contract.
The law requires a contract of employment in order that all the terms of the employment can be legally set out. The terms of this agreement will help to ensure that no disputes can arise between employer and employee at a later date, and it covers a number of areas, including:
- employee duties and responsibilities
- contractual disputes
- their employment rights under the employer
- employee salary
This contract is accepted as soon as the employee accepts a job offer from their new employer and upon it’s acceptance, the employee is considered to have agreed with the terms of the contract regardless of any prior knowledge of job details. Both parties are bound to contract of employment until either the terms are changed or their association ends.
The terms of a contract of employment are there to provide the employee and the employer with details of what will be expected from each other during the working period. Such terms can come from a variety of different sources, and can be agreed upon in a number of different ways, such as:
- a verbally agreed contract
- a written document
- a letter detailing the terms of employment
- or an employee handbook detailing company policy and terms.
The terms of a contract of employment can also be detailed in two other areas, Collective Agreements are sometimes used to detail an arrangement between the employer and a trade union. Such an agreement will usually allow the union to negotiate certain terms with an employer on behalf of its members.
Implied Contract terms are not written down or recorded but are still deemed to be completely valid, such terms are usually required in a contract of employment in order to address any areas that are considered to be assumed or two obvious, such as specific rules and guidelines that might be associated with a particular area of work.
A contract of employment is also frequently useful in order to settle any contractual disputes that may arise between the employer and employee. However, it must be remembered that a contract of employment cannot legally overrule any of the rights of the employee that exist in accordance with the law.
If for any reason an employer were to breach the rules that are set out in a contract of employment, the employee would have grounds to make a legal case against them. In this way, a contract of employment does not merely set out company rules that must be followed by the employee, but it also allows the employee to legally assert their rights in case of any unfair treatment or less than satisfactory working conditions.