If you are looking to start your own carpentry business or expand your already existing carpentry business, you should consider what to include in your employment contracts. As a carpenter, you won’t deal with the same situation twice. Each job requires you to use your experience to come up with solutions to novel problems. This means that your employment contracts should be broad enough to cover all situations. However, at the same time, they must be specific enough that there is no ambiguity as to the roles and duties of your employees. This can be a difficult balance to keep, but it is vital to the success of your carpentry business. Therefore, we will now see some examples of how to strike this balance.

What should be included in the employment contracts of my business?

When considering what specific terms relate to your carpentry business you should first consider your business model. How much freedom do you want to provide to your employees? What type of hierarchy do you want to create? How much free will do you want your employees to exercise when performing their duties within your business? These three questions should form the basis of your thought process when creating employment contracts.

As the owner of a carpentry business, the glue that binds all the different areas of your business together, are your employment contracts. No other mechanism has such a power to define the structure of your business, and ensure the cohesion of all its various parts. Therefore, employment contracts do this by ensuring that, at all times, your employees know precisely what is required of them. In addition, they create a hierarchical structure which ensures that each employee knows who it is they answer to, from the bottom, all the way up to you, the business owner. This ensures that there is no confusion within your business as to who is responsible for which area, allowing your business to run smoothly and efficiently.

Can my employment contracts be flexible?

In order to grow your carpentry business, you may feel like giving your employees a certain amount of independence and freewill, as this will allow your employees to specialize in areas that are of interest to them. Therefore, it should be noted that your employment contracts do not necessarily have to cover absolutely every aspect of your employees’ work. There is certainly room for flexibility, and indeed some flexibility is encouraged in order for you to maintain a healthy business and relationship with your employees. However, there are certain areas within your employment contracts in which there should no room for flexibility. These include:

  • Safety
  • Harassment
  • Client payment options
  • Material used
  • Protocol when working with other trades

The reason for the inflexibility in these areas is the need to protect your business from any financial or legal liability that may arise from these situations. Consequently, you must ensure that your employment contracts comply with workplace law.

Can I write my own employment contracts?

The short answer to this question is yes, of course you can. However, the ever shifting legal landscape of employment law means that, without prior legal experience in this area, writing your own employment contracts can open your business up to a vast array of liabilities. However, this does not necessarily mean that a lawyer must write all of your employment contracts. It is possible for you to write some, if not most of your employment contracts, and then take them to a legal professional to ensure there are no gaps or errors, and therefore no liability for your business. LegalVision has created an example of how a lawyer can assist you with creating employment contracts for your business, and can be found here.

Conclusion

If you are looking to start your own carpentry business or expand your already existing carpentry business, you should consider what to include in your employment contracts. Employment contracts are the glue that holds your business together, while allowing it to grow and flourish. Your employment contracts should be watertight when they need to be, however, they should also allow your employees the freedom to specialise in the areas in which they excel. This can be a difficult balance to maintain, and it will be necessary at some point to seek the assistance of a legal professional in order to protect you and your business from any financial or legal liability. If you would like assistance in creating employment contracts with the help of a contract lawyer, call Legal Vision for a fixed-fee quote.

Lachlan McKnight

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