28 Jan EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS
Employment contracts are fundamental to the employment relationship and can be used to:
- Improve upon the minimum employment conditions in the National Employment Standards (NES), modern awards or an enterprise agreement;
- Incorporate additional flexibilities for either party; or
- Impose additional obligations such as confidentiality, a post-employment restraint and expected levels of conduct.
The distinction between contractual conditions and lawful and reasonable directions from an employer which are often contained in policy documents is not always clear. A properly drafted employment contract is critical to ensuring both parties know exactly what rules they are contractually bound to follow and what rules can be unilaterally determined by an employer.
Unfortunately the reality is many parties do not seek an appropriate level of legal advice prior to entering into an employment contract and assume that any problems can be resolved amicably. Then in the future the relationship breaks down and suddenly each and every word in an employment contract can become critical.
In other instances the parties do not even confirm the terms of their employment contract in writing and are left to argue about verbal statements or undertakings down the track. This often leads to significant legal expenses and uncertainty.
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