Employment Contracts

What is an employment contract?

An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and employee. It establishes both the rights and responsibilities of the two parties. As with all contracts, there must be an offer of employment and a subsequent acceptance of the offer for there to be a binding contract.

Any employment agreement must comply with all applicable legislation. If an employment agreement does not comply with legislation, it might be unenforceable.

Does an employment contract have to be in writing?

Employment contracts can be written or oral and contain various express or implied terms. However, having a written contract can be beneficial to both parties in the event either party wants to terminate the working relationship. Written employment contracts can take various forms including that of a letter to a more complex, lengthier agreement covering a broad range of topics.

Can an employment contract be changed after I have started my employment?

If an employer wishes to change the terms of an employment contract once the employment relationship is underway, the employer is required to provide the employee with an additional benefit if they wish to change the employment agreement. This could be a salary or benefit increase or something that is of benefit to the employee in exchange for accepting the new terms of employment. However, the benefit must be substantial enough to justify the change, otherwise the change might not be enforceable. 

What clauses should I pay attention to when reviewing an employment contract?

It is helpful to review all the terms of the employment contract to ensure that they correspond with the parties’ understanding of the agreement. Having said that, there are three areas in particular which deserve close attention: 

  • Compensation: the contract’s terms of compensation should be closely reviewed to ensure that the employee is getting all the payment they were promised with their job offer. This is particularly true for contracts which involve complex bonus or share compensation structures.
  • Severance: the contract may include terms about what happens when the employee’s employment is terminated by the employer. It is important to negotiate this clause before signing the contract.
  • Restrictive Covenants: restrictive covenants include confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation clauses. These clauses can significantly impact your ability to work and should be removed if possible.

Frequently asked questions about workplace harassment

Having your employment contract reviewed is a prudent and responsible step to protect your rights and interests as an employee. An employment contract review will allow you to gain a clear understanding of your rights and negotiate better terms.

Your employment contract should be reviewed before it is signed, otherwise you may not be able to request any future changes to your contract.

Employment contract reviews can generally be completed within a week, subject to our availability.

The cost of an employment contract review depends on the employment contract itself. We can provide a quote for your employment contract review after you have provided our office with a copy of your employment contract.

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