Do you have a bit of a green thumb? If you are thinking about starting a gardening or landscaping business, or expanding your already existing gardening business, you should begin to think about what to include in your employment contracts for your employees and contractors. A well-drafted and constructed employment contract is a pillar to any successful business venture.
Why are well-drafted employment contracts so important?
An employment contract is the primary document that governs the relationship between an employer and an employee. Employment contracts are vital to any business as they assist in protecting the business from liability by clearly setting out the role and responsibilities of each employee. The contract should also state whether the worker is covered by an applicable award, such as the Gardening and Landscaping Services Award 2010, set out by the Fair Work Ombudsman. An employment contract will cover a number of important issues, including:
- The rights and obligations the employer and employees have under the contract;
- The legal enforceability of various clauses in the contract; and
- The likelihood of any disputes arising between the employer and employee in relation to the contract.
A well-drafted employment contract ensures that each employee understands what the employer requires of them while on the job and makes sure each employee works efficiently but also safely. For a business that revolves around physical labour and power equipment, such as gardening and landscaping, safety is key!
What should be included in my employment contracts?
Employment contracts govern all parts of an employees’ life at work. Therefore, it is important that you spend some time thinking about how you want your business to be run to ensure your employment contracts cover all necessary aspects. Following are some of the specific things that you should address if you’re creating employment contracts as a gardener or landscaper:
- Equipment – who is responsible for providing the gardening equipment required to complete the job: employer or employee?
- Clothing – what is the employee required to wear when working? Will you provide gardening uniforms? What safety gear the employee is required to wear when operating certain equipment or handling certain chemicals?
- Safety regulations – as a gardener or landscaper, you are required to work with dangerous machinery and hazardous chemicals. It is vital that the employment contract addresses the appropriate way to handle such equipment or products, as well as any safety procedures that employees are required to follow.
- Working in private homes – if your business provides gardening services to private homes, the employment contract should detail how the employee is to conduct themselves while at someone’s home.
- Cleaning up after a job is complete – for example, are the employees required to take garden waste with them or is the customer responsible for disposing of them?
- Etiquette with customers – this is vital, as the way your employees treat your customers has a significant impact on your business’ reputation.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what should be included in an employment contract if you are starting a gardening business, however, it is a good starting point to get you thinking about the finer points that you should consider.
The law of surrounding employment contracts can be quite challenging to understand. Without any legal expertise, drafting clear and concise employment contracts can be very tough. If you need help drafting employment contracts for your gardening business, or you would like your current employment contracts to be reviewed and updated, please contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers where we can provide you with a fixed-fee quote.