Employment Contract Review
Our Employment Contract Review Service ensures the contract you are about to sign follows the terms you have negotiated with your employer. This service intends to empower you to seek out the best conditions to suit your individual needs during your employment.
Employers expect you to work to a certain minimum, likewise you should expect your employer to adhere to the contract you both signed.
What should you be aware of?
Your contract sets out the terms and conditions of a job, which includes pay, hours of work, leave entitlements, and much more. If something changes, your contract is there to protect you. Whether you’re accepting a new role or renegotiating your existing contract, it’s important you are aware of all the minimum conditions set out by federal law.
Awards, enterprise agreements or an individual employment contracts each set out the different terms and conditions of your employment. Are you aware that there is a difference between all three industrial instruments?
There are legally enforceable minimum terms and conditions that all employment contracts must include. They may also include some clauses that could have implications down the track in your career (such as non-competitive clauses, or clauses relating to intellectual property rights).
It’s very important that you know your contract adheres to all minimum requirements, and that you understand the implications of any other clauses it contains.
Your contract provides you and your employer with written terms and conditions of your job that covers your pay, hours of work, leave entitlements, and much more. When you sign a contract, it indicates that you and your employer have agreed to these terms.
However, to what degree do you understand the minimums, clauses and conditions in your contract?
Before you sign on the dotted line take advantage of our free Employment Contract Review service.
What do we check for?
Despite the States and Territories enforcing separate workplace legislation, all jurisdictions are governed by the National Employment Standards (NES), an Award or Enterprise Agreement.
National Employment Standards
When we review your contract, we check for the NES which are the 10 minimum employment entitlements. According to these standards, all employees are entitled to:
- Maximum weekly hours
- Requests for flexible working arrangements
- Parental leave and related entitlements
- Annual leave
- Personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and unpaid family and domestic violence leave
- Community service leave
- Long service leave
- Public holidays
- Notice of terminationand redundancy pay
- Fair Work Information Statement
During the review, we check these minimum legal entitlements against an Award or Enterprise Agreement.
An Award or Modern Award are the minimum standards of employment that apply in addition to the NES. Modern awards cover a whole industry or occupation, providing a safety net of minimum pay rates and employment conditions
Many of our members working as professional engineers, professional scientists, IT professionals, telecommunications professionals and quality auditors are covered by the Professional Employees Award 2010.
In some workplaces, employees negotiate collectively with their employer for an Enterprise Agreement (EA). However, this agreement must leave an employee better off overall when compared to the relevant award or awards.
When an EBA has been negotiated, this will override the provisions of the relevant Award.
It is common for professional employees, particularly those who work in the private sector, to agree to enter into a common law contract of employment. Individual contracts set out wages and conditions and/or provide for conditions in excess of an Award, EA or the NES or are not covered by any of those industrial instruments.
By agreement common law contracts can be updated at any time. If you wish to change the terms of an employment contract, you may seek to re-negotiate those terms with your employer.
Whilst the provisions of common law contracts can be better or cover different conditions not mentioned in an Award or Enterprise Agreement, they cannot contain terms and conditions which are inferior.
PLEASE NOTE: Awards, Enterprise Agreements, and contracts CANNOT exclude the National Employment Standards.
How do we help?
Professionals Australia can review the employment contract you are negotiating or offered to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what you are being asked to sign.
We aim to equip you with the knowledge to negotiate the best terms for you.
Due to the complexities of industrial law, different standards apply to businesses. Factors affecting these standards include; the business size, which industry, and legislation relevant to the Federal, State or Territory jurisdiction. The terms of your contract might also be affected by recent rulings on cases that might go unnoticed by your employer.
Our Workplace Advice and Support stays on-top of current industrial news and provides tailored advice about how it could affect the terms of your contract.
It matters that all employees know their legally enforceable minimums covered under NES, Award, Enterprise Agreement or individual contract.
CASE STUDY: Additional Hours and Overtime
Did you know that the standard 38-hour week, plus reasonable additional hours is governed by the NES?
However, our report, Additional Hours and Overtime found that many professional employees are working beyond the 38 hours legislated in the NES “without access to additional leave or compensation for working additional hours.”
Unfortunately, neither the NES nor the Professional Employees Award provide a clear definition of reasonable additional hours for professional employees. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances of your job.
Whilst the NES and Award provide flexibility for both the employee and employer, you could be left in a vulnerable position.
This report forms part of our claim which, if successful, requires employers to remunerate additional and/or unsociable hours. In the case of new and recent graduates, hours should be measured and assessed at the level of similar employees who do not possess professional qualifications.
Professionals Australia provides its members with a comprehensive service that reviews your contract, checks the minimums and explains the implications of all the clauses and conditions entailed. A similar service elsewhere could cost you hundreds, but as a member this service comes free as a benefit of your membership.