Depending on what your role is as an employee, your employment obligations and implied duties under your employment contract will vary. Most employment contracts, or at least the ones that are properly drafted by an employment lawyer, will detail the mutual obligations of each party to the agreement, along with any additional employment obligations imposed under statute law.

Just as your employer has obligations and duties to you and your colleagues, you have employment obligations and duties to your employer. In most employment contracts there will be a description of the role and details as to the performance requirements to satisfy that role.

The Employment Contract

Under your Employment Contract, there are various sub-headings that, at first glance, seem fairly easy to understand, however, the terms of an employment contract can be very complicated and the assistance of an employment lawyer is invaluable.

As in all industries, the amount you earn is typically governed by the award rates of the particular industry. These minimum rates are protected by statute. The industry-based awards only prescribe the minimum wage in each industry, and give no guidance as to the actual performance obligations of the role. The terms in the Employment Contract that deal with whether or not you will be paid should be discussed with an employment lawyer to eliminate any confusion as to the expectations of performance in the role.

Under the Common Law of Australia, without performing the services for which they are hired, employees may risk losing their pay.

Failing to meet Performance Obligations

If you are unable to satisfy the performance-based employment obligations under your Employment Contract, you may not be entitled to your pay. If you fail to meet the requirements set out in your Employment Contract, you risk losing your wage entitlements, even if your failure is based on the conduct of your employer.

Nevertheless, there are other means of resolving such a dispute. Under the Common Law, there is an implied term in every employment contract that intimates that the relationship between employer and employee is based on ‘mutual trust and confidence’.

This means that, during the employment relationship between you and your employer, your employer may not take advantage of you by exploiting you or discriminating against you.

While the implied term of mutual trust and confidence is not precisely defined, the term at least acknowledges that employment contracts are not simply financial agreements, but also take into account the social and personal relationship that stems from an employment contract.

Employees’ Implied Duties

Just as employers must treat their employees fairly during their employment, employees also have implied duties to which they must adhere. In performing the duties of the Employment Contract, employees may need to also abide by the following implied duties:

  • To do work that is outside the defined parameters of the employment contract;
  • The duty not to disclose any confidential information that has come from the employment relationship;
  • The duty of ‘fidelity and good faith’, which ensures that the employee only conducts himself or herself in a way that is consistent with the employment contract;
  • The duty to use ‘skill and care’ in performing the various duties; and
  • The duty to follow all instructions of the employer that are reasonable and lawful.

Conclusion

As an employee, you have various duties under the Common Law and under your employment contract. If you do not meet these performance-based employment obligations, you risk losing your pay entitlements. To prevent this from happening, contact an employment lawyer and have them review your employment contract.

To speak with an employment lawyer today, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755.

Emma Jervis

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