Are you starting a new job or changing roles within your workplace? It’s essential to properly review your employment contract to ensure there are no surprises. It’s common for Australians to just sign what they are given when contracts are handed over, especially in the workplace.
However, it’s important to remember that like any other contract, an employment contract imposes obligations on both parties. It’s a document that governs the relationship between you and your employer, so it’s crucial to ensure it is fair and accurate.
What Should Your Workplace Contract Include?
Your employment contract should ideally include the following:
- A clear job description
- Salary or wage details
- The nature of employment (full time, part time, casual)
- Maximum weekly hours
- Public holiday entitlements
- Leave entitlements
- Dispute resolution process
- Termination process (how much notice is required?)
- Redundancy consultation
- Confidentiality requirements
- Protection of intellectual property
If some things are not included, you should bring it up with the employer, negotiate the terms and add it to the contract as necessary.
Things to Look Out For
It may come as a surprise that employment contracts can contain illegal or unenforceable elements or terms that contradict what you believe you were agreeing to. However, it’s all too common and can occur due to error, unintentional ambiguity or malicious conduct. Some areas of concern include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to include agreements or promises made during pre-contractual negotiations such as bonus, benefits, holiday, commission, health insurance and flexible working arrangements.
- Terms that contradict the Fair Work Act and/or the National Employment Standards.
- Ambiguous or otherwise unclear terms in a contract that may be open to interpretation and able to be used against you.
- Discretionary clauses that may give the employer an unfair advantage.
- Overreaching restrictions or restraints of trade which can limit your options upon termination in a way that seems unreasonable to you but is enforceable by the courts. For example, non-compete clauses can prohibit you from working for a competitor for a certain amount of time or in a certain geographical area.
Ensure you understand everything that is in the contract and that it reflects your understanding of any verbal agreements made prior to signing. If there is a contractual provision or any terms you don’t understand, an experienced workplace relations lawyer can assist you.
Need Help Reviewing Your Employment Contract?
If you need advice or assistance reviewing your employment contract, speak to our experienced lawyers in Brisbane. As members of the Queensland Law Society, our lawyers will examine your individual circumstances and offer timely advice on the best pathway forward.
At Phoenix Law, we specialise in Family Law, Personal Injury Law, Migration Law, Commercial Law, Property Law, Litigation Dispute Resolution, Estate Planning, International Trade Law, Intellectual Property Law and Workplace Relations Law. We speak your language, with a team of multilingual lawyers ensuring our clients get the best possible understanding of Australian law. Call our law firm today on 07 3180 0908 or contact us online.