Industrial Relations: Employment & Contract Issues

The employment relationship must be confirmed by using an appropriate employment contract and/or agreement. Employers and employees will agree to the terms of employment and ensure these are included in the employment contract.

Employment terms and conditions are covered by an Industrial Relations Instrument, either an Industry [Modern] Award or an Enterprise Agreement. It is one of these instruments that are referred to when preparing employment contracts. Employers must ensure that the conditions individuals are employed under are in keeping with the requirements contained within the respective industrial agreement and the employment contract formalises this.

It’s important to note that employers can provide terms and conditions that are better than those stated in Awards/Agreements, and this must also be clarified in the employment contract.

In addition to the above, employers can also provide ‘Common Law’ contracts to those who are considered to be ‘Non Award’ employees. These contracts will contain all the relevant information that forms the basis of the employment relationship and must be written in a particular fashion to ensure their accuracy and servability.

Employers must be careful especially if they don’t formalise the employment relationship via a contract, and instead agree to terms verbally (or by handshake). All too often this leads to doubt about entitlements and Companies have been found to have underpaid employees and fined accordingly.

In all cases, when it comes to industrial relations it is best to have the employment relationship confirmed via a properly written employment contract. For help with employment and contract issues, please contact us.