Understanding the Nuances of Employment Contracts

When it comes to hiring new employees, employment contracts are typically used to outline the terms of employment and the scope of the employment relationship. Frequently, employment contracts outline obligations, entitlements and any applicable restrictions for both employer and employee. Many employers view the employment contract as a method of safeguarding their position and obligations in essential areas. But failure to clearly define the range of the contract can leave an employer vulnerable to providing additional compensation upon termination of an employee.

Format of Employment Contracts

While an employment contract does not necessarily need to be written, it is to the benefit of both the employer and employee to have the terms of the contract carefully detailed in writing, and signed by both parties. Some employment terms are often implied, not carefully written out. And in many employment contracts, it is implied that an employer will:

  • not terminate an employee without just cause; and
  • provide an employee with reasonable notice in the event of a termination.

Additionally, it is often implied and not detailed in writing, that a new employee will work diligently and perform their job duties to the best of their talents and abilities.

Termination and Fixed-Term Contracts

While, legally speaking, the issue of termination and fixed-term contracts has been on the books for quite a while, many employers involved in fixed-term contracts are often surprised to learn they don’t automatically have the option to terminate employment early, despite providing reasonable notice.

And while an employer may enter into a fixed-term contract with a specific timeframe in mind – to cover a maternity or paternity leave, a product launch or wind-down, or a position dependent on funding for its continuation – failure to carefully detail those specifics in the employment contract can come back to bite an employer in their bottom line.

Recently an Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a decision in favour of an employee terminated before the agreed-upon end date. The terminated employee was ultimately awarded the full amount of wages he would have earned had he worked to completion date of his contract.

Benefit of Partnering With a Specialized Staffing Partner

When it comes to working with fixed-term employees, partnering with a specialized staffing partner can eliminate exposure and potential vulnerability if you need a contract to wrap up early. By bringing in the necessary staff under the safety of the staffing agency umbrella, you get the talented workforce you need without setting yourself up for potential liabilities if the terms of the contract change.

If your company is experiencing growth, or if your current project is bigger than you originally anticipated, it might be the perfect time to consider partnering with a specialized recruitment team.

Steve Jobs was once asked what he credited as the secret to his success. Hiring the “best people,” he said.

When you need to hire the best people, let the HR and staffing experts at Employment Professionals Canada work with you to find your next superstar and protect your company. Contact us today to learn more!