What Should an Apprentice’s Employment Contract Contain? uagb.1888932-2946.ws

An apprentice’s employment contract should not be very different from a normal work contract

An apprentice’s employment contract is a work contract like all others and as such, it should not differ much from other employment contracts. The apprentice is an employee, after all, and will be required to do work. The only difference is that he does the apprenticeship in order to get valuable skills, to gain some work experience or to broaden their network. In general, an apprentice enjoys legally the same rights and shares the same responsibilities as a regular employee. Why do you need a separate contract then?

Well, the best idea is to use an existing employment contract and just to have an addendum to it. For example, the apprentice might need it as part of their studies so they might need a certificate or they might prove that they have done certain operations during the work or that they have acquired valuable skills. You can do this as a one-page addendum quite easily.

Otherwise, the apprentice’s employment contract does not differ much from a normal employment contract. The first thing would be the terms of the contract, or in other words what the duties of the employer and the employee are. That means the working hours and the payment, eventual accommodation issues, security protocols, etc. are to be included like for any other employee. What is different is that you need to include training details as it is the main reason why an apprenticeship is done. Depending on the different needs, you should include different details but it is always better to be quite descriptive and explain well what the apprentice will do. If you do that, you achieve two goals. First, the apprentices are normally not too experienced so that they will have a better idea of what they are supposed to do. This will relieve them as they will see that their effort is useful and appreciated. Moreover, the apprentice will most likely ask you to write them a recommendation. If you have already written in the apprentice’s employment contract what the apprentice would do, you can use it for the recommendation, as well. Thus, the reference will accord to the contract and it will be more valuable when the apprentice starts looking for a job.

Our general advice is not to make the apprentice contract too complicated and by no means more complex than a normal employment contract, at least. We also advise you to treat the apprentices as normal employees if you want to have better results from them. Nobody would work well if they feel that they are not wanted and their effort is not appreciated. You can start with the apprentice’s employment contract! If they see a good, comprehensive contract, it is more probable that they would put more effort than if they have a contract which clearly was not very well-thought. This is also true for all other work contracts, as well. If you have trouble when creating the apprentice contract, do find a legal document template online. This will be an easy and cost-effective solution.

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Employment Contracts and Your Business employment contract

It is common practice for employers to enter into agreements with their employees to commence an employer and employee relationship. Agreements are commonly put into writing by the employer incorporating terms, which both the employer and employee mutually agree with at the outset as a standard form or negotiated terms between the parties. Surprisingly there are many employers who enter into verbal agreements with employees and do not finalise the terms of employment into written form, or an employment contract.

Over time a business’ operations and employee’s responsibilities may change, however these changes fail to be incorporated into verbal or written contracts. This often leaves employers and employees exposed to uncertainty and potentially legal exposure.

Written employment contracts allow for the terms of employment to be clear and unambiguous to ensure both parties are aware and understand their responsibilities, duties and obligations under the agreement from the commencement of employment until it is either amended or terminated. These contracts are known as common law employment contracts.

Common law employment contracts are not “industrial instruments” unlike Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), Awards and Notional Agreements Preserving State Awards (NAPSAs).

A common law employment contract can operate simultaneously with an AWA, however employers need to bear in mind that common law contracts cannot undercut the terms of an industrial instrument.

If you use common law contracts in your business it is imperative that you ensure all the terms or any relevant industrial instrument are carefully observed.

A restraint of trade clause seeks to impose limitations or restrictions on an employees’ conduct after they leave employment. Restraints of trade clauses are intended to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests and goodwill. There will always be two competing interests, an employees’ freedom to earn a living against the need of an employer to protect its legitimate business interest.

Employers need to bear in mind that restraint of trade clauses will only be valid if they are reasonable under relevant Restraints of Trade Legislation in each state and territory. In New South Wales; what is reasonable under the Restraints of Trade Legislation 1976 (NSW) will depend on factors including:

The subject matter of the restraint.
The time and area of its operation.
The nature of the employer’s business and the industry in which the employer operates.
The relationship of the employee to the employer’s clients and customers.
The nature of the work performed by the employee.

A properly drafted restraint of trade clause in an employment contract for an employee is an effective tool to protect an employer’s legitimate interests and is capable of enforcement where it can be established that an employee deliberately copied customer lists or business records before leaving employment and did so with the intent to compete against their employer. An employee can be restrained from continuing to engage in conduct in breach of their obligations under an employment contract and damages may be awarded to the employer in particular circumstances.

Restraint clauses can be a useful means of protecting legitimate business interests however employers should consider that determining the correct scope and application of valid restraint clauses is often complex and difficult and legal advice should be sought.

Employment Contracts and Your Business