What You Need to Know About Employment Contracts

Updated Sep 08, 2021

Lawyers can help advise and represent clients in matters relating to employment contracts, workplace disputes, unfair dismissal, underpayment, and more. So whether you're an employer or an employee, getting legal assistance is crucial to have strong support for your claim. 

What You Need to Know About Employment Contracts

Most workplace issues will often require immediate attention and action. For this reason, it's best to have a form of legality to ensure that you and your employee are assisted throughout the process. In such cases, it's best to work with a lawyer to ensure that you receive practical and strategic advice to handle these matters. 

Lawyers can help advise and represent clients in matters relating to employment contracts, workplace disputes, unfair dismissal, underpayment, and more. So whether you're an employer or an employee, getting legal assistance is crucial to have strong support for your claim. 

Employee Contracts Need to Meet Minimum Legal Standards

When it comes to employee contracts, employees need to ensure that they're not signing away their rights in their workplace as well as agree to any illegal activity. Employers who do this may need to face legal action and deal with potential legal penalties, affecting the whole company and their reputation. 

With that being said, an employment contract should at least meet the minimum legal standards presented in the Fair Work Act of 2009 and National Employment Standards. These standards cover important aspects of a contract, such as the maximum weekly work hours, work arrangements, changes in employment status, types of leaves, and even termination notice.

For instance, when an employee exceeds the maximum work hours by law, their contract is considered to have an unfair employment term. And in cases where an employee is denied an annual leave or required to work on a national holiday without proper compensation or notice, the contract can be terminated.

Can Casual Employees Get Protection?

As long as you are an employee under a company, you can get protection through your employment contract. Some casual employees are entitled to the following:

  • An opportunity to change their employment status
  • Can receive unpaid leave for caregiving, compassionate, or community service
  • If you've worked for more than 12 months, you are entitled to unpaid parental leave and flexible work arrangements

Of course, it's best to speak with a lawyer to understand the minimum legal standards for casual employees to get the protection they need in the workplace.

What is the Restraint of Trade Clause?

A restraint of trade clause restricts an employee's range of new employment options because they may possess sensitive information valuable to competitors. However, when it's overly restrictive, a court can strike it down. 

So if you're thinking of including a restraint trade clause, ensure that you don't exceed the following:

  • Don't set an unreasonable amount of time before an employee can work for a competitor.
  • Limiting the geographic location, which could also burden the employee's ability to earn a living, should also be considered.
  • It's fine to prevent employees from departing with other employees, but they could do so if they want to leave on their own accord.
  • Soliciting clients to leave with an employee is prohibited unless they are entitled to do so.

The Bottom Line: Don't Set Limitations In Your Contract That Doesn't Meet Legal Requirements

Although employment contracts can be pretty straightforward, even if it can be tempting to set your limitations, you must remember to comply with the minimum legal requirements. In doing so, you provide your employees with acceptable terms, protecting them throughout their employment term. 

Of course, it's best to work with a lawyer who specializes in employment law to ensure that all legalities are in check.

How Can We Help You?

Are you looking for a lawyer who can help you with your employment law needs? If so, you've come to the right place.

Ajak Wolan & Associates is an experienced Melbourne-based firm that can assist you in different areas of law — from criminal to commercial, family to civil litigation, and employment to wills and estates.

Schedule a meeting with us today!