Areas of Expertise

Contract of Employment

Employers are obliged by law to set out in writing and to furnish to all employees the basic terms and conditions of their employment.

The employment contract may be a complex document governing all aspects of the employment relationship and should set out any restrictions which might apply when the employment relationship comes to an end.

At the minimum, the basic terms and conditions which may be specified are:

  • The names and address of the employer and employee;

  • The place of work, or if not, the contract must state that the employee will be obliged to work at various places;

  • The nature of the work/job title;

  • The date of commencement of employment, if temporary;

  • If for a fixed term, the date on which the contract expires;

  • The rate, method of calculating pay and whether payment will be made weekly, monthly or otherwise;

  • The hours of work and any provision for overtime;

  • Any terms and conditions in relation to paid leave, to include sick leave;

  • Any terms and conditions in relation to pension;

  • Notice periods for termination of the contract by either the employer or employee;

  • Any reference to any collective agreements.

The nature of the employment relationship is usually governed by this document although the courts will have regard to the reality of any employment arrangement and will not necessarily simply accept a description of the employment relationship in a contract document, at face value, in determining the true nature of the employment relationship.

This is important because certain rights and obligations may arise where an employment relationship “a contract of service” can be said to exist as opposed to a “contract for services” in the case of independent contractors.

In addition to the express terms of the contract of employment, a number of terms will be implied by law to form part of the contract and both employers and employees should be advised as to these “implied terms”.

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