An employment contract is a contract which sets out the terms and conditions of employment and are between an employer and an employee.
There are many different laws that govern the terms of an employment contract including wage rates, staff entitlements (like leave and superannuation contributions), taxation obligations, and workplace health and safety.
Terminating an employee
An employee’s employment is terminated when their employment with an employer comes to an end. There are many different reasons for an employee being terminated and can include the employee resigning or being dismissed.
It is important that both an employee and an employer are aware of their respective obligations when employment is terminated, including whether dismissal is lawful or unfair, notice requirements and an employee’s final pay. Obligations for each party can also differ depending whether a business is bankrupt, or a job has been made redundant. It is important that a business is aware how it can or cannot dismiss an employee.
An employee may also have been unlawfully terminated if they are dismissed due to:
- A protected attribute such as race, age or sexuality;
- Temporary absence from work resulting from illness or injury;
- Trade union membership or non-membership;
- Being absent due to maternity leave or parental leave;
- Being absent to engage in a voluntary emergency management activity;
- Being absent due to planning to, or actually exercising a workplace right including making a complaint or inquiry in relation to an employee’s employment or participating in proceedings against an employer.
Employers can often prevent a future liability from arising if they have a clear understanding of their legal obligations and have implemented internal systems in order to follow established and enforced protocols.
Adero Law can assist you to draft any internal systems and processes for your business as well as to understand the obligations of both yourself and your employees in the event that employment has been, or is required to be, terminated.
Clear workplace policies that are communicated to employees and consistently enforced are beneficial for a workplace for many reasons. Depending on the workplace, it may be necessary to have documented systems in place including privacy policies, workplace health and safety policies, social media usage policies, email and internet policies, a staff code of conduct etc.
It is important for employers to understand that obligations may differ depending on which states and territories that their business operates in.
Risk Management and Compliance
It is vital that employers understand the legal implications of failing to take precautionary action in the workplace. For a workplace to ensure that it remains compliant it must always proactively check whether it is meeting its obligations under the relevant legislation, rules or regulations that govern it. It is therefore wise for workplaces to update their risk management procedures often and to ensure that they have put in place risk management systems to manage the following as examples:
- Performance management procedures;
- Discrimination or harassment complaints;
- Occupational Health & Safety;
- Critical incident reporting and management; and
- Injury management and return to work processes.
Proactively implementing and enforcing risk minimisation strategies will assist your business in limiting any potential injury, harm and liability arising from any alleged potential breaches of your obligations in the future. Adero Law can assist you in not only understanding any obligations that you, as an employer may have but also in drafting clear and concise guides and policies that you can implement in your workplace.