Navigating Australia’s complex employment and labour laws can pose a challenge for employers. Legal issues impact all stages of the employment lifecycle, from recruitment to engagement to termination. Employers must build and maintain workplaces that meet ever-changing market conditions. A key foundation to effective human resource management is well-drafted employment contracts, workplace policies and guidelines.
Our experienced employment lawyers can help employers anticipate, manage and resolve workplace issues. Our team can assist with:
drafting and reviewing employment contracts;
drafting and reviewing workplace policies, handbooks and guidelines;
drafting and reviewing contractor’s agreements;
negotiating terms and conditions of employment;
providing advice on restraints of trade and enforcement of restraints;
providing advice on employee and contractor employment relationships;
providing advice on terminations of employment, including entitlements to reasonable notice or bonuses; and
providing advice on migration issues (including visa schemes).
LegalVision’s employment lawyers are specialists in providing practical and accessible advice. We have advised SMEs and major Australian companies in both the private and public sectors.
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5 Things You Need to Know About Employment Contract Drafting
1The first step in employment contract drafting is to work out what type of employee relationship you need — for example if your employee will be a permanent, fixed term or casual employee and whether the employee’s role is covered by a Fair Work Australia award. You can research this on the Fair Work Australia website. Your employment lawyer will also be able to assist you with this as well as provide guidance on the best type of employment relationship for your business.
2Your lawyer will then draft the necessary employment contract. Employment law is a specialised area of the law. A well-drafted employment contract covers a range of matters including salary, superannuation, annual leave, probation periods, long service leave and confidentiality. Other matters that should be covered include ownership of intellectual property that the employee creates, termination of employment and obligations on termination — including non-compete, non-solicitation of staff and non-interference with business relationships.
3You need to give employees your policies and procedures. These are generally set out in an employee handbook. An employee handbook outlines a business’s policies on issues such as internet use, social media use, sexual and racial harassment, workplace bullying, drug use and more. It is important to have these policies in place, and to inform your employees of them — first to promote correct conduct, and second as a defence if one of your employees breaches the law or a policy. You need to show that your business is not liable because you had policies in place and had trained your staff on these policies.
4Make sure that the employment contract and the employee handbook work together. This is very important. If the two documents don’t fit together this can lead to confusion and potential disputes.
5Finally, it’s important to remember that an employment contract doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Work with a lawyer who values plain English documentation, so the rights and obligations are clear to both parties.