If you are looking to create a panel beater business, or to expand your already existing panel beater business, you should start thinking about what to include in your employment contracts. Employment contracts define the role of your employees, while also protecting your from any unwanted liability. This means that employment contracts act as another supervisor, by preventing employees from doing something you don’t want them to do, or ensuring the work you expect to be done is completed in a satisfactory manner. In addition, employment contracts assist in creating a healthy working environment by telling your employees how they are expected to treat each other. This will both help prevent workplace bullying or harassment, and also improve productivity, because a happy workplace is a productive workplace.

Do I need to create a new contract for each employee?

No, you certainly do not. In a perfect world, this would probably be the most effective way to hire employees. However, from a practical perspective this would use up an inordinate amount of time, and prove rather cumbersome for your business. In effect, it is advisable that you tailor your employment contracts to suit each individual position within your business. This will allow you to reinforce your business structure through these contracts, while also assisting you to create a hardworking and friendly culture, by defining how members in each position should behave.

The beauty of a panel beating business is that every job is different, and each day you are presented with new challenges. Your employees will be required to engage in a variety of activities, such as, welding, plenishing and filling, detaching panels, doing paint jobs and additional mechanical repairs. Therefore, although you do not need to personalize each employment contract, it is clear that each of your employment contracts should include an elaborate list of all the tasks that each employee may be required to perform throughout the course of their employment.

Should I include anything more than work and pay?

Yes, you absolutely should. Remember that your employment contracts should encompass every aspect of your employees’ lives, from the second they enter the workplace to the second that they leave. This means that you should explain in detail how you expect your employees to behave towards each other. 

In a panel beating business you often have a number of people working on one vehicle at a time. This inevitably leads to social interaction that is not, strictly speaking, work related, which is absolutely fine. However, as this interaction occurs during the course of employment, this makes you responsible for what occurs. Therefore, if one of your employees is bullied, or harassed, you are responsible. As such, you must include provisions in each of your contracts that specify, in no uncertain terms, what is expected of your employees when it comes to social interaction in the workplace. In addition, you should also include detailed steps of what disciplinary measures will be taken in the event of someone breaking these terms in the contract.

The inclusion of these terms in your employment contracts will ensure that your workplace remains a happy one, in which all your employees feel comfortable and safe. Consequently, this will allow all of your employees to work to the best of their ability, and make your business even more productive than before.

Can I do this by myself?

Although it is certainly possible that you can write your own employment contracts, it does require in-depth legal knowledge. This means that it would be prudent to involve a lawyer in the process at some point. If you feel that you are unable to draft your own employment contracts, you should go straight to a legal professional. Alternatively, if you know what you want to include, you can begin drafting your own employment contracts, and have a lawyer go over them once they are completed in order to ensure you have not forgotten to include anything that might open you up to liability. To assist you with this, LegalVision has created a list detailing a lawyer’s role in assisting you with employment contracts – it can be found here.

Conclusion

If you are looking to create a panel beater business, or to expand your already existing panel beater business, you should start thinking about what to include in your employment contracts. Not only do employment contracts protect your business from unwanted liability, but they assist you in creating a workplace in which each and every one of your employees feels safe and happy. This in turn improves the productivity of your business and provides you with peace of mind. It should be noted, however, that creating your own employment contracts can be a time-consuming task. As such, it would be prudent to obtain legal advice at some point during the process. If you feel that you want a lawyer to assist you further in creating employment contracts, please feel free to call LegalVision for a fixed-fee quote.

Lachlan McKnight

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