WRITING AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT

Everyone likes to run their business their unique way, and it’s important that all your employees are on the same page as you. When drafting an employment contract, it’s recommended that you create a separate comprehensive manual containing all the relevant information, health coverage, pensions, vacation time and all other details about the working relationship that you want in writing.

The Best Lawyers in St. George Utah Recommend Doing Your Research

An experienced lawyer will provide you with useful references and also help you avoid legal issues down the road as you embark on the process of drafting your employment contract. It is important to remember that an employment contract is a legal declaration of the relationship between an employer and an employee. Both parties have to agree before the commencement of the job. Let’s talk about the most important points you need to include in an employment contract.

The Four Main Steps of Writing an Employment Contract:

Step 1: Getting Started

Look for a sample employment contract that’s in line with your company’s line of business. This will act as a framework for the contract you are going to draft.

Explain the fundamental terms of employment to the new employee, which include: the job title, the salary amount including benefits, if applicable, the probationary period, working hours and the commencement date. It’s advisable to put this down on paper to avoid disagreements and to also act as a point of reference. Keep in mind that an employment contract becomes valid as soon as the employee accepts your job offer, though it may be contingent on receiving satisfactory references for the new employee.

If you are going to draft a written employment contract, you’ll want to provide a final copy to your new employee within two months of their commencement date. This is not only in consideration of the employee and providing a clear understanding of the agreement, but in some industries, it is a mandatory deadline.

The employment contract should include:

  • The job offer
  • The terms and conditions of employment
  • The organization’s procedures, policies, and relevant documents referred
    to in the terms and conditions, e.g., disciplinary actions.
  • Proprietary information, if any, that’s owned by your business including copyrighted material,
    patents, and trade secrets. You may need to enclose a Non-disclosure agreement for the
    employee to sign which entails what the employee can and cannot do with this information.
  • Employment regulations such as those relating to spousal health cover, annual leave, dismissal
    and maternity rights.
  • Experienced employment and labor law lawyers in St. George Utah can help you get the exact
    clauses you need to include in your employment contract.

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Step 2: Details That Should Be Included in the Employment Contract

The Declaration of the Conditions of Service should include:

  • The job title for the employee with a brief description of the primary responsibilities of the job including the duration which the contract is valid.
  • The name of the organization (employer) and address and the full names (official) of the employee and his/ her address.
  • The salary or wage and the details of when and how it’s going to be paid. This should include all the relevant benefits such as health coverage.
  • Details of how performance will be reviewed.
  • The main details of the organization’s retirement plan, if offered.
  • Working hours – the standard working hours and expected number of hours an employee is supposed to work in a week. Any flexibility in the number of working hours should be stated.
  • Explain the non-competition terms, if any – define any limitations on the employee’s ability to work with competing companies. However, you should consult with your lawyer to ensure you stay within the law.
  • Specify that the employment contract is controlled by the State of Utah or state you are in.
  • The location where the employee will fulfill his/ her duties including overseas locations, if they will be working in that location for more than one month.
  • Full details of company holidays, and annual leave – when it can be taken and what happens to the unused leave days. You should also include how your organization deals with official government and national holidays.
  • Full details of maternity, paternity and sick leave.
  • The duration of an employee’s probationary period including any conditions.
  • Notice period – how much notice should an employee give the employer before leaving and how much notice the employer should give the employee before dismissing them?

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Step 3: Company Policies Should Be Clearly Explained

This is subject to the line of business of your company. Below is a good overview to get you started. James Elegante and other lawyers in St. George Utah can provide further guidance on the details specific to your company for this section.

Your contract of employment should include:

IMPORTANT COMPANY PROCEDURES. This includes important documents and policies affecting the employee’s employment and where he/ she can access them. These may include taking time off to address a family emergency, an employee’s health or even use of the internet and company email within the company.

THIS INCLUDES HOW YOUR COMPANY HANDLES: 

ABSENCE. Explain how, when and to whom the employee should report when they are off from work, say because of illness. For example, the company policy may be to ring work within an hour of their reporting time.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT. If you have a very detailed policy, you can reference the relevant manual, but it’s recommended that you specify the types of conduct that are prohibited and the person to whom the employee should report to.

DISCIPLINE. Detail the code of conduct for the employees, what is acceptable and what is not, to whom an appeal against a disciplinary action should be raised with and so on.

GRIEVANCES. An employee needs to know to whom to report a complaint or problem, including their names and position in the company.

Remember to include a date and signature line, identifying the two parties involved underneath the signature line.

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Step 4: If You Need to Revise an Employment Contract

The employment contract can only be changed with the agreement of both the employer and the employee. If you did not involve a lawyer in the initial stage of drafting your employment contract, this is a good time to talk to seek out lawyers in St. George, Utah and find one to give you and review and input on the employment contract.

Share the contract with a close business friend or family member and let them point out a clause that seems unfair or unclear. If your contract is vague, it may result in legal issues in the future, or you may lose great talent by having an unfair employment contract.

Discuss the contract with your potential employee before he/she starts working. Encourage the employee to raise any questions or concerns relating to the contract. If the issue of vague language is raised, you should be ready to redraft the contract as a verbal explanation will not hold in the event of a dispute.

Take your time to create the final draft so you don’t miss anything before the employee starts working. James Elegante is one of the best lawyers in St. George, Utah, and he is ready to share his employment and labor law experience with you.

If you need help writing an employment contract, call OR contact James today.

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