If you’re a Toowoomba or Darling Downs employer and you find yourself asking “are employment agreements absolutely necessary?”, then have no doubt that the answer will always be a resounding ‘yes’!
Employment agreements are crucial contracts that all employers need to implement across their workplace ensuring that the individual duties, obligations and expectations required as part of the employment relationship are enforceable and their business interests are adequately protected.
Whilst the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the Fair Work Regulation 2009 (Cth), modern awards and enterprise bargaining agreements (industrial instruments) contain a number of important rules, requirements and conditions governing employment relationships, they do not cover everything and in many instances, employers are misinformed regarding what rights they do and don’t have when a legitimate employment agreement has not been in place from the outset.
A good employment agreement should be tailored to your specific business, industry and the role being performed. One size does not fit all, and the agreement should include a number of important things not covered by industrial instruments including, but not limited to:
Enterprise Legal provides clients with a Template Employment Agreement that is contemporary, robust and is specifically tailored to your workplace, industry and business.
If you have an existing employment agreement or if you don’t have one at all and you’d like to know more, contact our dedicated Workplace Relations Team for a free, no-obligation consultation today!
“It was a pleasure working with Enterprise Legal. They are clearly extremely knowledgeable but approachable and easy to discuss matters with.
I felt very well looked after and felt in safe hands with the legal advice provided.”
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JG Audit & Assurance
You should review your employment agreements regularly to ensure they appropriately reflect the values, needs and expectations of your business as they change over time. As a rule of thumb, you should review them:
At a minimum, you should be reviewing your employment agreements and employee wages annually, particularly given the national minimum wage and all modern award wages are reviewed and generally increased each year at the end of the financial year. You should therefore always ensure that you are reviewing your employee’s wages annually and this should be completed in conjunction with reviewing your employment agreements.
You should also always issue a new employment agreement when an employee changes roles as it is important to ensure their contracts appropriately reflect the role they are performing. All too often, employers are caught out when they want to enforce a robust restraint against a senior employee whose contract has not been updated and only reflects a junior role that they held when they joined the business.
Employers need to provide all new starters with a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement before, or as soon as possible after, they start their new job.
Employers also need to provide every new casual employee with a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement at the same time.
We recommend these be issued at the same time you issue the employee’s contract of employment and that your contract/cover letter includes an acknowledgement that the employee received the information statement.
Failure to issue the appropriate information statements may result in fines being issued so it is important to ensure this step is taken each and every time you hire a new employee. We also highly recommend you download a copy of the information statement each and every time you need to provide one. This will ensure that you do not provide an outdated copy.
Employees and contractors are very different types of engagements, and it is vital that employers have the appropriate contract in place in order to appropriately govern the relevant relationship and protect the business.
Contractors are exactly that; they are creatures of contract engaged to provide a service and are not employees. Contractors do not receive the same entitlements as employees (such as paid leave and superannuation), they carry the legal liability for their work and are required to manage and cover their own insurance, taxation and invoicing (just to name a few key differences).
Employees are entitled to a number of benefits that contractors do not receive, including (but not limited to) leave, superannuation, the benefit of being paid a wage where income tax has already been deducted by the employer and paid to the ATO under PAYG, relative protection from liability, access to tools and equipment generally free of charge and more.
As you can see, there are some big differences between the two types of engagements and it is vital that employers ensure their agreements are carefully prepared in order to ensure they are covered – as best as possible. This is particularly important when it comes to ensuring contractor agreements accurately reflect the non-employment relationship between the parties and how the parties are to interact with one another in a non-employment way as a failure to do so may expose the business to unpaid employee entitlements sought by a contractor who forms the view that they were, in fact, an employee.
For more specific advice on contractor vs employee relationships or to better understand how you should be dealing with your employees or contractors, contact our workplace relations team.
For employment agreements, there are:
There are also contractor agreements.