Contract of employment like every other contract is an agreement between and employer and an employee which describes and states the condition of employment. It is always advisable for one to be sure of what the contract states before signing and accepting the contract as once signed it is binding on both parties. A well prepared contract of employment is a statement of the capacity in which the employee is employed, it covers and shows the name of the job, pay, allowances, hours of work, holidays, leave, pension arrangements, and should refer to the relevant company laws and policies as is applicable to the employee.
In a more refined way, a contract of employment is defined as an employment agreement voluntarily entered into by the employer and employee which stipulates and defines the conditions of employment. Most contracts of employment are in written form which makes it applicable and governed to the general law of contract. This then means that every contract of employment should be binding on both parties as well as valid. It then means that for the contract of employment to be binding just as I general law of contract, there should be an offer, an acceptance and a furnished consideration. In this case the offer is the written employment letter which is accepted by the employee and the consideration being the wage the employer is ready to pay the employee.
IMPORTANT FEATURES OF A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT:
A well written contract of employment should include all of the following;
· Parties to the contract should be clearly stated: The name and contact address of the employee who is being employed should be clearly stated as well as the name and address of the employer.
· Date of employment should be clearly stated: The resumption date of the employment should be stated in the contract of employment. This will help in knowing when to start calculating the employee’s entitlements.
· Remuneration: The salary agreed on should be put down in writing. The scale or method of calculating the remuneration should also be put down in writing. Also the interval of payment should be written, either bi weekly or monthly depending on the policy of the firm.
· Terms and conditions of work relating to hours a day: The expected number of hours to be put in by the employee per day should be clearly stated in the contract of employment.
· Leave entitlements: The employees leave entitlement should be stated, number of days he is entitled to, his leave allowance, other types of leave he may be entitled to (sick leave, casual etc).
· Pension entitlements: The employee’s pension entitlements should be clearly stated if any.
· The job title: The title of the job being offered should be stated. The job tasks as well should be written.
· Confirmation: The number of months or years as the case may be the employee will serve successfully before his/her appointment will be confirmed should be stated.
· Disengagement: The number of days or months notice required by either of the parties before the contract will be terminated should be written as well.
After the contract of employment has been established, the employer and employer as well have duties to perform to keep to the terms of the contract. In the case of the employee, he has to keep to all of the following;
- Has to do his job personally: The employer was employed to work and carry out his duties by himself. It then means that by the terms of the contract, he has to do his job and duties by himself.
- Has to abide by the laws and policies of the firm: For every organization, there are laid down rules and regulations as well as policy guides that direct the affairs of the organization. The employee is bound by the contract of his employment to abide by the rules and regulations surrounding his employment contract. Disobedience to any of this may result to outright dismissal or termination of appointment.
- The employee should not by any means compete with his employer. He should not have any interest that will be against that of his employer.
- He is to conduct himself well and properly at all times. He should not be involved in any action that will be detrimental to the firm. He should come to work early and comport himself during office hours.
- He should be accountable to his employer on all assignments given to him during his period of employment.
- An employee should add value to his employer which is the main reason for his employment. He should be able to prove the skills he claimed to have prior to employment.
On the other hand the employer has some duties to perform for the employee to make sure that the contract of employment between them is sustained. The following are expected to be carried out by the employer;
- The employer is expected to pay the wages of the employee. As part of the employment contract, there is an amount that was agreed by both parties as wages for the employee. The employer is expected to pay such wages and as when due.
- He should provide the necessary and required tools to enable the employee carry out his duties effectively.
- The employer should also make sure that there is an enabling environment and good working conditions for the employee to perform his duties.
- The safety and safe working conditions should also be assured by the employer to avoid putting the employee at risk during his period of employment.
- The employee should be rewarded when he has performed well. He should also be motivated by the employer at all times. The employer should not see the employee as a slave, rather as a partner in progress, because without the employee, the employer will not succeed.