Employment Contracts: Good for employers and employees

By Lorna Reid – Workplace Relations Consultant  


Employment contracts are not just formalities; they are essential employment documents that can help reduce risks for your business. They set conduct and performance expectations, and support compliance with relevant laws and regulations.  


The importance of a well written contract 

Employment contracts must align with the Australian and other relevant State or Territory employment laws, including, but not limited to, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and any relevant awards or agreements.  

You cannot contract someone out of their minimum entitlements. 

A carefully drafted contract can help ensure compliance, protecting both parties from legal issues that may arise down the track. Protections for your business include confidential information and intellectual property, safeguarding business information and preventing employees from using or disclosing information improperly.  

Employment contracts should clearly outline the terms and conditions of employment: 

  • Position responsibilities  
  • Salary 
  • Benefits 
  • Working hours  
  • Termination procedures.  

This clarity helps prevent misunderstanding and disputes which can lead down costly paths.  


Defining the employment relationship  

Clear communication is key to any successful working relationship. Employment contracts serve as the foundation of this communication by defining expectations and responsibilities of both parties.  

Employees should be aware of what they are agreeing to when they start, so ensuring the expectations and responsibilities of both parties are clearly outlined in the employment contracts is crucial. We recommend the position description is attached and included as part of the contract of employment.  


Protect your business interests  

For small and medium businesses, protecting your business interest can be crucial for your growth and success. Employment contracts can contain, non-compete and non-solicitation clauses designed to protect the business’s interests. These clauses can prevent ex-employees approaching your clients, your current employees or plagiarising your work when they leave.  

Confidentiality agreements within the contract can also safeguard sensitive business information, trade secrets and intellectual property.  

By having these protections in place, understood, and agreed, you have a better chance of mitigating the risk of losing valuable assets and ensure your business continues to grow in the competitive market.  


Common clauses  

Some commonly referenced employment contract clauses:


1. Remuneration 

Employees place significant value on their pay, ensuring they are being paid correctly and negotiating their remuneration package.  

For employers, it is crucial to ensure the remuneration clause in contacts provides employees with their entitlements while also protecting businesses.   

One for the most frequently asked questions concerning employee remuneration involves offset clauses. The intricacies and legalities surrounding offset clauses is complex, making it imperative to have a well-drafted offset clause in your contract if you intend to invoke it.  


2. Termination 

Even with the best intentions, not all employment relationships end successfully. Employment contracts should include termination clauses, specifically notice periods, severance pay, and exit procedures, to ensure departures are handled professionally and in line with what has been agreed.  


Business Chamber Queensland recommends employment contracts are reviewed every 12 months. Further, we have developed a comprehensive suite of contract templates to assist businesses. To purchase templates, or for information specific to you, contact our Workforce Advisory Services team.  


How can Business Chamber Queensland help?    

Business Chamber Queensland members with HR services* as part of their membership can contact the Workplace Advisory Services team:    


P: 1300 731 988    

E: [email protected]       

 Businesses who do not have a HR membership may also seek assistance however a competitive consultancy fee will apply.   

 For membership enquiries, please contact our membership team on 1300 731 988.    

* HR services are included in Business Essentials and Business Evolve memberships   

Acknowledgement of Country

Business Chamber Queensland respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands from across Queensland and the Torres Strait. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin (Brisbane), the lands where our office is located and the place we meet, work and learn. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.