An employment contract review by a professional employment lawyer is important to understand your workplace rights and obligations. An employment contract review may identify whether an employment agreement is compliant with workplace laws, post-employment obligations and any requirements regarding salary and wages.
An employment contract review can provide workers with transparency about their employment agreement. Employment agreements are often complex and difficult to understand. A workplace lawyer can ‘translate’ the legal jargon and provide clarity regarding the employment clauses.
In this article, we discuss the benefits of hiring a workplace lawyer to conduct an employment contract review.
Prosper Law is Australia’s online law firm. We offer fixed-fee legal services, so our clients know exactly how much they will pay upfront. Our employment contract review services start from $550 plus GST. Get in touch by calling 1300 003 077 or email us at email@example.com
It’s important to know what employment terms you are signing up to
An employment contract review will enable you to talk through your contract terms with a lawyer. This process will enable workers to understand what the contract says in plain English.
For many workers, employment is a major source of income and livelihood. But it is more than that.
For some workers, employment can mean self-esteem, respect and a sense of identity. For these reasons, it is essential to ensure that the employment agreement you are signing up for is fair and favourable to you.
So often, workers hurriedly sign an employment contract, only to find out later that it contains unfair and unreasonable terms.
By engaging with a workplace lawyer to provide an employment contract review, you can find out upfront what you are signing up to.
What terms will an employment contract review focus on?
Salary and entitlements
Unless a worker is a volunteer, salary and entitlements will be a focus of an employment contract review. Employment contracts may contain information about pay (including frequency, allowances, annualisation of salary, and overtime) that does not comply with a Modern Award. They may also not comply with the National Employment Standards.
For this reason alone, an employment contract review is worth the money.
Employees can be hired as full-time, part-time, casual or under a fixed or upper-limit employment contract. An employment contract review will set out what status applies and why this is important.
A non-compete clause can prevent a worker from lawfully competing with their employer or using the employer’s information to their own advantage. Sometimes, non-compete clauses are unenforceable. But if they are enforceable, this can substantially impact the employee’s rights after their employment ends.
Workplace policies are often overlooked when it comes to reviewing an employment contract. But they are important for a number of reasons, including:
- workplace policies often set out any work-from-home or flexibility that the employer offers
- workplace policies are subject to change without notice
- failing to comply with employment policies can lead to dismissal of employment
In some employment agreements, a job description does not form part of the employment contract. This is important because it means that an employer can change a worker’s duties without:
- amending the employment contract; or
- getting the permission or agreement of the worker.
Employment contract terms can come back to bite
I have had many workers come to me stating that their employers have asked them to:
- work away at short notice
- work away for long periods of time
- work excessively long hours and without breaks
These kinds of working conditions are often illegal and can lead workers to leave their job and seek alternative employment. An employment contract review can help to avoid these issues coming up in the first place.
Alternatively, some employment contract terms are legal and enforceable, but may still be considered to negatively impact work-life balance. When an employer seeks to enforce unreasonable employment contract terms, employees may seek alternative employment or suffer from a heavy and unreasonable expectation of work from their employer.
By seeking legal advice from a workplace lawyer, workers can get a comprehensive employment contract review and an opportunity to negotiate terms.
An employment lawyer can explain whether clauses are enforceable or not
In this article, we have written about whether or not non-compete clauses are enforceable (hint: they are difficult to enforce). But there are other clauses that can pose problems for workers.
For example, clauses requiring workers to work long hours and at short notice may be contrary to legal requirements. A workplace lawyer can tell you if there is a requirement in your contract that is unlawful.
An employment contract review can determine whether clauses are enforceable or not. This provides employees with certainty about their obligations during and after their employment.
Employees can negotiate employment agreements through an employment contract review
Employees are entitled to negotiate employment agreements. If a clause is contrary to what you had agreed, contrary to legal requirements (such as a Modern Award) or you simply don’t agree to a condition, you should ask to amend the clause.
Hiring a lawyer to negotiate an employment agreement can be beneficial, particularly in the long run. If you are planning on staying in your job for a long time, you are in a senior role or you simply don’t agree with the contract terms, get a lawyer to negotiate with your employer on your behalf.
A workplace lawyer can help you to identify the clauses that you don’t agree with and work out a strategy for negotiating a change to those clauses.
Some employers don’t understand employment law
Just because an employer has provided you with a contract, doesn’t mean that they understand what is able to be included in an employment contract and what is not. Some employers do not hire a workplace lawyer to write their employment contracts.
Rather, some employment agreements are pulled together by copying clauses from other agreements. This can sometimes lead to an employment contract containing clauses that aren’t appropriate for a particular position, industry or level of seniority.
In those cases, hiring a workplace lawyer to carry out an employment contract review can be helpful for both the worker and the employer.
How can Prosper Law help?
Prosper Law’s legal services are provided by Farrah Motley, an Australian workplace lawyer. Farrah has experience working with both employers and employees to deliver first-class, commercially sensitive legal advice.
Farrah Motley | Director
M: 1300 003 077
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