||The terms of an employment agreement may be contained in an agreement, a contract, a deed or a letter.
Some terms of an employment agreement may be verbal (i.e. agreed orally but not written down) or implied (for example, every employment agreement has an implied term that the employer will take steps to ensure the employee’s health and safety at work). It is best for you and your employer that the key terms and conditions are in writing.
||A modern award will regulate the minimum terms of employment of support staff and may regulate the employment of practitioners. An employment agreement must not be less favourable than the award and can, and often will, provide more beneficial terms than the award.
|Parties to the agreement
||There are two parties to an employment agreement:
- the employer
- the employee (who must be an individual).
||Your employment agreement should have one named employer.
Your employment agreement should state the name of the legal entity that is the employer. The legal entity may be an individual, a company, partnership or joint venture. A trust, a business name or a practice name is not a legal entity and cannot be a party to an agreement. For example, if you work for the City Medical Practice which is owned by Smith Pty Ltd, your agreement should be with Smith Pty Ltd not City Medical Practice.
Your employment agreement should state the ABN of your employer.
||Your full name should be included in the agreement.
||Your employment agreement should state the position in which you are employed. It may say that your position title can be changed or you can be employed in another position for which you have the necessary skills and experience.
||Your employment agreement should state the location from which you will perform your work, including whether work can be performed from your home e.g. using telehealth or remote office work.
This may be a single location or may be multiple locations (for example, ‘all practices operated by Smith Pty Ltd’ or ‘12 Smith Street and any other location to which the practice relocates’).
Your employment agreement could require you to travel (for example, to other practices or nursing homes) and may require you to relocate if the practice moves to a new location within a reasonable distance.
||Your employment agreement should state the person or position that you will report to. It will likely say that your reporting arrangements can be changed by your employer.
|Your duties and obligations
||Your employment agreement will set out your duties and obligations.
It is common for an employment agreement to include a position description, which sets out the expected duties to be performed.
||Your employment agreement should state the date on which it will commence. This should be after the date you sign the agreement.
Your employment agreement may say that it will commence when a certain event occurs such as, obtaining a Medicare provider number or providing CPD information.
|Hours of work
||Your employment agreement should state the hours that you are expected to work. If you are full-time, this will generally be 38 hours per week. You may be required to work reasonable additional hours also.
It is possible that the practice hours may vary in the future (for example, the practice may start to open on weekends or after 5pm). Your employment agreement may require you to work such extended hours in the future.
If you are covered by an award, you should ensure that the “Hours of Work” clause complies with the award.
||An employee (other than a casual employee) is entitled to be paid annual leave, personal / carer’s leave and other forms of leave in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
An employee is entitled to long service leave in accordance with relevant state or territory legislation.
A part-time employee is entitled to leave on a pro-rata basis.
|Type of employment
||Your agreement should state whether you are employed as a full-time, part-time or casual employee.
|Period of engagement
||The term of your employment agreement may be:
If your employment agreement is a fixed term or maximum term agreement, it is important that the commencement date and end date are clearly stated.
- ongoing (i.e. your employment agreement will end if you resign or your employer dismisses you)
- fixed term (i.e. your employment agreement will automatically end on the specified end date – it cannot be terminated by either party before this date. If your employment agreement is terminated before this date, the other party may be able to commence a breach of contract claim seeking damages for the loss the party has suffered , for example having to employ someone else to do the work).
- maximum term (i.e. your employment agreement will automatically end on the specified end date – but either party can terminate with notice before that date).