In the past, contracts of employment were mainly verbal. This was more beneficial to the employer, as employees had no concrete rights to their employment and employers could dismiss them on any grounds. In modern times, it is common practice to have a written contract of employment. The contract of employment has several main aspects, which outline all the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and employee.
Rate of Pay
The contract of employment should list the conditions of your payment and how it is calculated. Under this section, the contract should also detail any bonuses, commissions and other payment you may receive. As an employees, seek to have a clause that allows you to earn more than is stated.
Hours of Work
The hours that you are contracted to work are the minimum you must perform. The minimum hours of work is a tricky subject for employers and employees. On one hand the employer is guaranteed to have a worker available for those hours. If, however, there is no work, your employer still has to pay you for those hours regardless. For the employee, having a high number of minimum hours a week provides a guaranteed amount of money. Unfortunately it also detracts from any flexibility that you may have and result in disciplinary action should you not manage to work that many hours.
Length of Contract
Most employment contracts are based on an "at-will’ concept. This means that there is no set time period for the employment, allowing both the employer and the employee to decide when to terminate employment. However, there are two other situations that might apply to your contract of employment. You may be contracted only for a short period of time; this is usually for project-driven employment such as building work. It is also possible to be contracted for a longer period of time, such as a minimum of two years or even more. If you decide to leave employment while you are still contracted to work, you may be subject to civil law action.
Holidays and Sick Leave
The contract also outlines the company’s policies regarding holidays and sick leave. The number of paid holidays and paid sick leave that you are entitled to by law changes depending on the state or country in which you live. This number is the minimum your can expect, and the employer is free to increase this number if they wish. The details of the procedures for requesting holidays and sick leave will also be contained within the contract of employment.
Termination of Employment
The termination of employment also should be detailed in the contract. These rules will tell you how much notice you must give your employer as well as additional factors such as restrictions on the type of work you can carry out directly afterward. Some companies will get you to sign a document restricting your right to go work with a competitor directly after you leave. This is to protect the company's trade secrets.