What can I do if I don't have an employment agreement?
An employer is legally required to provide a written employment agreement before an employee commences work. From 1 July 2011 employers will also be legally required to retain a signed copy of the employment agreement. If there is no written agreement in place, an employment agreement builder is available on the Department of Labour's website. It can be used by employers and employees to develop an agreement to suit their needs or to reflect their current verbal arrangements or custom and practice.
The fact that some people do not have an agreement in writing does not mean that employers and employees do not have identified rights and responsibilities. When a job is offered by an employer and accepted by an employee, an employer and employee agree to at least some of the terms and conditions of employment - e.g. hours of work, place of work, pay, etc. Once these things have been agreed, even if it is only a verbal agreement, they will be binding on both the employer and employee. Also, what actually happens each day and week at work can over time become part of the terms and conditions of an employment agreement. This is called custom and practice. An example of this is taking regular breaks, or filling in timesheets to be paid a standard amount each week, fortnight or month.
The first step in putting any verbal agreement into writing is for the employers and employees to first talk to each other. The minimum employment requirements that apply in most circumstances (even if the employment agreement is not in writing) are on the Department of Labour's website.
Click here for more information on employment agreements.
Date Modified: Monday, 4 July 2011
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and should not be used as a substitute for legislation or legal advice.State sector employers
and employees may be affected by some differences in the laws that apply to them (e.g. State
Sector Act 1988).The Department of Labour takes no responsibility for the results of any actions taken
on the basis of information on this website, nor for any errors or omissions.