In our other blog posts, we have strongly encouraged employers to use written employment agreements for their employees. Here are some useful tips to consider when making employment offers with written employment agreements.
- When making a verbal or written employment offer to a prospective hire, make it clear that the offer is subject to the person signing the employer’s form of written employment agreement.
- Ideally, you can attach a copy of the employment contract when making the written offer of employment.
- Alternatively, send a copy of the employment agreement to the prospective hire at least a week before their first day of work.
- Employers should require the employment agreement to be signed before the person starts work on the first day.
- For existing employees, there are special considerations for implementing a written contract. This is true for all employees, whether they have worked for a few days or a few years without signing a written agreement.
- There needs to be something ‘new’ provided to an existing employee in exchange for signing the written agreement and replacing the previous verbal agreement. If this is not done, the agreement may be invalid.
- Consider something like a signing bonus or a small raise.
- You must deliver on the promise made to the employee once the new agreement is signed.
- Provide at least a week for the person to review and consider the proposed agreement.
- The agreement should include a provision confirming how much notice (or pay in lieu) the individual will receive if they are terminated by the company without cause. It should provide at least one week for each year of completed service.
- Be careful about fixed term agreements. If there is a fixed end date for an employment contract, it is important to specify how the agreement can be terminated without cause before the end date. Otherwise, the employee could be entitled to payment for the rest of the term if terminated early.
- If the employer wants to include a non-competition clause, it should be narrow and specific in its duration, geographic location, and scope of activity, to maximize the probability of it being enforceable.
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