Whether you’re employing your staff by the relevant modern award, an above award arrangement, or an enterprise agreement, it’s important that each employee has an individual employment contract, or letter of offer. (If there is an approved enterprise agreement in place, a letter of offer is generally more appropriate.)
Both these documents should be designed to create clarity around the terms of employment for each employee. It’s quite possible that multiple employees, performing the same role, would have identical documents, simply addressed individually.
Providing these employment documents upfront is important for several reasons:
1. Clarity around the role and employment conditions
Even if your employees are all award-based employees, there are many factors within an award that are variable. I.e. is this a casual, part time or full time position? What level is the pay rate based on? These variables may be discussed verbally, however, without written records, you could be looking at an entitlement claim down the track if there’s a dispute.
2. Setting a standard for documentation processes
By starting your employment engagement as you mean to continue (by documenting the employment relationship), it becomes part of the norm at your workplace to have important details in writing. I.e. creating documented policies and procedures, or work method statements.
3. Dispute management
Within your employment agreement, or letter of offer, you may choose to include a dispute management procedure. Even if you don’t, by documenting the details of the employment relationship, any disputes that may arise in the future are likely to be settled easier and faster.
4. Creating a good first impression
When a new employee starts at your place of work, providing them with clear employment details provides a sense of security and professionalism. It can be a good starting point for ensuring the new employee understands their role and responsibilities and feels comfortable to ask the question if they’re unsure.
There are a number of factors to consider when creating employment contracts or letters of offer for your staff, so if you’re unsure where to start, get in touch with our Workplace Partners. They’ll be happy to give you some general guidance, or discuss our workforce management solutions.