The Ground Rules in writing Employment Contracts
Having a bona fide employment contract creates a solid foundation of successful employer/employee relationship. Understanding the types of employment contract available is a crucial part in making the right decision what contract the most suitable for the particular circumstances
As of 1st January 2010 there have been important changes in Australia’s workplace laws affecting all employers and employees in the national workplace relations system. These changes include the National Employment Standards (NES), and the Modern Awards.
- IFA – Individual Flexibility Agreement
- Offer Letter for a Modern Award covered employee
- Enterprise Agreements
- Independent Contractor Agreements
Some benefits of having employment contract in place.
- Greater certainty in the event of either party wishing to terminate employment
- Defines qualifying period
- Focus to an employee to achieve outcomes in a defined time-frame
- Helps employees understand what is expected of them by defining working hours, codes of behaviour, confidentiality issues and the like
- Entitlements can be clearly set out by defining terms and conditions
What are the 10 NES entitlements?
The NES are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 and comprise 10 minimum standards of employment. In summary, the NES involve the following minimum entitlements:
- Maximum weekly hours of work – 38 hours per week, plus reasonable additional hours.
- Requests for flexible working arrangements – allows parents or carers of a child under school age or of a child under 18 with a disability, to request a change in working arrangements to assist with the child’s care.
- Parental leave and related entitlements – up to 12 months unpaid leave for every employee, plus a right to request an additional 12 months unpaid leave, and other forms of maternity, paternity and adoption related leave.
- Annual leave – 4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.
- Personal / carer’s leave and compassionate leave – 10 days paid personal / carer’s leave, two days unpaid carer’s leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required.
- Community service leave – unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and leave for jury service, with an entitlement to be paid for up to 10 days for jury service.
- Long service leave – a transitional entitlement for employees who had certain LSL entitlements before 1/1/10 pending the development of a uniform national long service leave standard.
- Public holidays – a paid day off on a public holiday, except where reasonably requested to work.
- Notice of termination and redundancy pay – up to 4 weeks notice of termination (5 weeks if the employee is over 45 and has at least 2 years of continuous service) and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay, both based on length of service.
- Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement – employers must provide this statement to all new employees. It contains information about the NES, modern awards, agreement-making, the right to freedom of association, termination of employment, individual flexibility arrangements, right of entry, transfer of business, and the respective roles of Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Employing a person without an employment contract is like rowing across the lake in a leaky boat � no matter how fast you row you are not going to make it until you remove the hole.
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