Defining the Written Employee Contract

There are times when an employee is asked to sign a written employee contract. Before we can discuss when you should and should not consider agreeing to sign such a document, it’s important that we clearly agree on an exact definition.

What is a Written Employee Contract?

A written employee contract is a document provided (typically during the hiring process) to set forth terms of the relationship between the employer the employee. Both you and the employer sign the document. Entering into a written contract is not necessary with every position. Actually, use of the written employee contract is an exception to the normal practice during the hiring process – not the rule. But it is important to know what this particular type of document entails so that you can better understand when it might be appropriate or even possibly advantageous to agree to sign on the dotted line.

What is Included in a Written Employee Contract?

The written employee contract will clearly state the employee’s job description. It will also clearly state the agreed upon salary. In addition to this other items related to the employment relationship can be specified including: the length of the job (1 month, 2 years, indefinite, etc.), additional information regarding the employee’s responsibilities on the job, limitations on employee activity once the job is complete in order to avoid competition, protection of the company’s trade secrets/client lists, specified grounds for termination, additional benefits (vacation, disability leave, health benefits, etc.), ownership rights of employee’s work during the duration of the contract, methods agreed upon for resolution of any disputes arising as a result of the employment relationship, etc.

The written employee contract isn’t just one more piece of paperwork dragging the hiring process out. In some instances, it can be a vital element that protects both the employer and the employee from negative situations that could damage team morale, employer/employee relations, your ability to successfully complete the job at hand or your opportunity to fully enjoy the full extent of benefits that were promised during the hiring process.

Find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of signing a written employee contract in upcoming articles here on the Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik blog or get in touch today to talk to a legal expert on employment law.