Contracts establish the employee-employer working relationship by outlining your rights, responsibilities and obligations. In return your employer provides you with a set of minimum terms and conditions.
So, to what degree do you understand those minimums, clauses and conditions?
If, like many professional employees, you enter into a common law contract of employment, here are three things to consider during negotiations:
Get your contract in writing
Every contract, verbal or written will contain number of basic terms and conditions, and we suggest you and your employer agree upon them before beginning or resuming your work.
While contracts can be verbal or written, we recommend you get a written document as it is much simpler to follow and enforce written terms & conditions. As you negotiate, we believe your contract should contain the following:
- Parties to the contract
- Employment Status and Duration of Contract
- Position, Role, Job Description
- Probationary Period
- Start and Finish Times and Days
- Other work locations
- Ordinary hours of work and reasonable additional hours
- Notice upon termination
- Variation of your employment contract
- Restraint Clauses
- Intellectual Property
- Moral Rights
- Policies and Procedures
- National Employment Standards
- Interaction with a statutory instrument
By ensuring you sign a comprehensive document, you are protected if your circumstances suddenly change or you’re being pressured to accept new terms and conditions.
Your terms and conditions
Whether you’re accepting a new role or renegotiating your current contract, it’s important you’re aware of your legally enforceable terms and conditions.
All contracts must provide for conditions better than the National Employment Standards (NES) or the relevant award/enterprise agreement. While you’re negotiating your contract, you should:
- Check to make sure the NES is INCLUDED. These are 10 minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees regardless of the relevant award/enterprise agreement.
- Compare those conditions against the relevant award. Awards are an enforceable document that contain the minimum employee terms and conditions applicable to industry you’re employed, or the type of job worked.
- Check if your workplace is covered by an enterprise agreement. Generally, enterprise agreements provide for terms better than the relevant Award, therefore the Award will not apply. So, you should compare your contract against the applicable enterprise agreement.
Please Note: Most of our members are covered by the Professional Employees Award 2010 or Pharmacy Industry Award 2010.
Request a contract review
We understand contract negotiations can be difficult, but our Workplace Advice and Support team is here to help.
When you join the Association, you can take advantage of our Employment Contract Review Service.
Our team of lawyers/industrial officers will review your contract, check the minimums and explain the implications of all the clauses and conditions. This service will equip you with the knowledge to know what makes a good contract that benefits and protects you while you work.
This service can cost hundreds elsewhere, but as a member you receive it free of charge.