April 14, 2023

Employment Contracts – Why? By Phoebe Kitto

Let's talk employment contracts and why they are so important!

Okay, so I know that this is not the most riveting of subjects. However, if I were a school teacher handing out lines for employers, I would make you all write out 100 times, 'I must ensure I have a good employment contract in place.' Why, you ask? Oh my goodness, where do I start...

A good employment contract confirms the employment relationship. So, full-time is full-time - easy. However, if the staff member is part-time, you are required to specify in writing the number of hours and pattern of work. If they are casual, we want to be really clear that there is no ongoing obligation to provide consistent hours.  

Then, we need to clarify not only the award but also the classification level. Is this important? Yes. Confirming the classification confirms the base rate of pay if there ever was a wage dispute. If this has not been confirmed in ink, there can be plenty of argy-bargy as to what level of responsibility the employee had.

Now, let's dive into those sneaky allowances and penalties. What allowances and penalties are applicable to this role, and how are they being paid? Are they grossed up into a loaded rate, or will you apply them as required? Clarity, people, is all we ask for. And don't try to worm out of it by saying they are a salaried staff member. Fair Work and the ATO are onto you, and you need to be able to demonstrate that you have built the salary to be Award compliant.

Do they need a driver's license or any other ticket or license, blue card, white card, or glitter card to perform their job? Let's make that clear in the contract.

Are they responsible for taking their breaks? Let's pop in that they need to manage their breaks and won't be eligible for overtime if they forfeit a break without approval.

Do you have any form of workplace surveillance, such as cameras, computers, or GPS on cars? Did you know that you must inform your staff that they are under surveillance? Otherwise, if you catch them with their hand in the till on camera, well there could be all sorts of dramas in an Unfair Dismissal case.

Confidentiality, constraint of trade, annual shutdown periods i.e.: Christmas, and the requirement to fill out timesheets (I am not even going to entertain an argument with this one; you just need to do it).

Yes, employment contracts are so important, and they need to be regularly reviewed and updated. Don't think that just because you have a ten-year-old lawyer-drafted contract or one borrowed from old mate down the road that it will suffice.

Need practical, hands on help, tailored for your business? Contact me – Phoebe Kitto -  for a complimentary consultation: Click Here

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