Why Employees Need Up-to-Date Contracts
When it comes to starting new employment with a company, most employers will require that you sign an employment contract. This type of contract ensures that employee and employer rights and responsibilities are understood by both parties.
Even if you do not sign an official contract with an employer, certain rules and rights still apply.
For those that have signed a contract, most employers do not require that you re-sign a contract during your employment. However, it may be in your best interest to request a contract review with your employer in order to change any updated information about your employment.
Here is some information about what employment contracts are, how employers can change them and why you should make sure yours is up-to-date:
What Are Employment Contracts?
Employment contracts are used in labor law in order to outline the rights and responsibilities between employees and employers.
In many situations, you may receive an employee handbook that outlines rights, responsibilities and policies. However, it is likely that in signing a contract, you have agreed that you understand what it outlined in the handbook.
These contracts, and employee handbooks, typically include the following details:
- Terms of employment
- Responsibilities of employee
- Employee benefits
- Absence policies
- Dispute resolution
- Nondisclosure agreements (i.e. confidentiality)
- Grounds for termination
- Salary or wages
- Duration of employment
- Work schedule
Employment contracts are designed to ensure that there is a clear understanding of what is expected of the employee and employer during employment.
They also work to eliminate any potential disputes as well as help employees understand their rights under law.
Should you have disputes with your contract or employer, our expert lawyers at Heritage Law would be more than happy to review your contract for any inconsistencies or legal issues. Contact us today!
Do Employment Contracts Expire?
Employment contracts can expire, depending on the type of contract you sign. There are three main types of employment contracts: Permanent Employment Contracts, Fixed-Term Employment Contracts and Casual Employment Contracts.
Each type of contract involves different stipulations when it comes to the permanency of the job and the work hour provided:
Casual Employment Contracts
Casual employment contracts are used when there is no guarantee of hours or a fixed schedule for employees. Typically, hours and work are given to casual employees as needed by the employer.
Examples of casual work include being an interpreter, a home care worker or an inventory laborer.
Fixed-Term Employment Contracts
Fixed-term employment contracts detail employment that has a set end date. However, fixed-term contracts can be extended in which a new contract should be signed.
If an employee works beyond the end date of their contract, they work under an “implied agreement” that the end date has changed.
Fixed-term contracts are often used if new employees are hired to cover medical or maternity leaves or if they have been hired to complete a particular project or task.
Permanent Employment Contracts
Permanent employment contracts are a contract that remains ongoing until employment is terminated by the employer or employee.
This type of contract is generally only signed at the beginning of employment. However, the terms of employment can still change during employment.
Employers may instate “variations of contract” or changes in employment law may necessitate a “letter of variation”.
Before signing any contract, be sure to read the document thoroughly. For professional help in deciphering employment contracts, contact us at Heritage Law.
Can My Employer Change My Contract?
An employer can make certain changes to an employment contract but must provide employees with a written notification within 3 weeks of the changes.
When an employer makes changes to a term or terms in the employment contract, it is called a “variation of contract”. Since contracts between employers and employees are binding agreements, they cannot be changed without consent from both parties.
Having an issue with an employer over a binding contract? Contact our lawyers at Heritage Law for more information about contract legalities.
Changes may include changes in pay, changes in the hours of work, the place of work, job duties and sick leave entitlement.
Employers often make changes to employment contracts in alignment with changes to the company and business operations.
Employers may be obligated to make certain changes as well if there are changes in employment law. For example, there could be changes in law that affects retirement age, national minimum wage and flexible working.
Employers may also choose to align employment contracts to make the terms of the contract uniform across all employees.
Should I Ask For a Contract Review?
While employers are not obligated to redraft permanent employment contracts, it is always a good idea to ask for a review of your contract with your employer.
When reviewing your employment contract, ensure that the contract reflects your current employment arrangements.
You may have made a verbal agreement with your employer regarding changes to the terms of employment. You’ll want to make sure these changes are updated in your current contract.
Any negotiated changes in employment should be updated in your contract via a “letter of variation ” that details the changes and is attached to your current contract.
Before you agree to any changes to your employment contract, either initiated by yourself or your employer, it is recommended that you have the new terms reviewed by a legal professional.
Contact Heritage Law for legal advice regarding your contracts in order to avoid issues with your employer down the road.