As a lawyer working in employment law, I regularly draft employment contracts and read employment contracts drafted by others.
Some employment contracts are very well written and are effective in protecting the interests of the employer. Unfortunately, I read too many which are very poorly drafted and leave the employer exposed to considerable liability.
These are 3 of the biggest mistakes that I see:
- The ‘internet’ download. This can be because the contract is not drafted for use in Australia, because the contract does not fit your business model or because the terms of the contract are contrary to the Award which applies to your industry.
- The ‘fixed term’ contract which is not fixed term. Fixed term contracts are technical documents. If the content of the agreement does not fit with the law’s requirements for the employment to be ‘fixed term’, the agreement is worthless. Ditto for fixed task and seasonal contracts – always get an experienced employment lawyer to draft these specialised contracts.
- The contract that attempts to avoid an applicable Award. I have seen too many contracts that say ‘no Award applies’, when an Award does apply. It is not possible to contract out of Award coverage using an employment contract and is (quite simply) a waste of time.
An employment contract should be designed to protect the interests of the employer and spell out the rights of both the employer and the employee. Some employers look to save money by writing their own contracts, but all too often I see that this cost cutting measure simply leaves the employer vulnerable to future prosecution and expense.
To talk about the contracts your business needs, please call us on (03) 5722 4681.
MORGAN COUZENS LEGAL