Employment Contracts For Employers
In BC, having a well-crafted employment contract can save your company time, money and many headaches!
The nature of the Canadian workplace has changed dramatically in recent years, which is why employment contracts need to be audited and changed to fit the current landscape. The contract should protect the employer, provide clarity and fairness to the employee, and ensure that there is transparency on the terms of the relationship so focus can be placed on the work to be done.
Unfortunately, even small errors in contractual agreements can result in significant financial repercussions, as demonstrated in numerous civil and supreme court cases.
What is an Employment Contract?
An employment contract is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee. It outlines the terms and conditions of their employment relationship, including job duties, compensation, benefits, working hours, and termination provisions. The contract can be in writing or verbal, but it is always recommended to have it in writing to increase enforceability and transparency, and avoid any misunderstandings.
Employment Contract Types in BC
In British Columbia, there are three main types of employment contracts:
Indefinite Employment Contract – This is the most common type of employment contract in which an employee is hired on a permanent basis.
Fixed-Term Employment Contracts – This type of contract is for a specific period and ends automatically at the end of the term.
Casual Employment Contracts – This type of contract is for occasional or irregular work and generally does not provide benefits or stable income.
Independent Contractor Agreements
Independent contractors are different from employees since they are not subject to the same rights and obligations as employees. However, they may still be entitled to certain legal protections under contract law. Independent contractors are considered as arms’ length service providers that are in business for themselves and responsible for their own expenses and taxes.
Companies that engage independent contractors should ensure that they have a written agreement in place that clearly defines the nature of the relationship. This agreement should outline the scope of work, fees, and payment terms. Employers should also ensure that the independent contractor is not misclassified as an employee, which could result in liability for severance, unpaid taxes, benefits, and other entitlements.
Preparing an Employment Agreement
There is a lot to consider when preparing an employment agreement. Choosing an agreement structure will depend on the goals and objectives of each company. Whether the aim is to reduce liability, decrease costs or retain quality talent long term, there are different ways to set up these contracts.
Terms of employment
Regardless of the type of employment contract, there are several key elements that must be included:
- Job title and description
- Compensation and benefits
- Working hours and schedule
- Termination provisions
- Confidentiality and non-disclosure provisions
- Non-solicitation and non-competition provisions
- Intellectual property protections
- Dispute resolution provisions
- Severability clause
- Governing law
NDA’s / Confidentiality Agreements and Non-Solicitation
For some businesses, it’s a good idea to include non-disclosure/confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-competition clauses in their employment agreements. These clauses protect the employer’s confidential information and trade secrets, as well as their client relationships.
NDA’s and confidentiality agreements prohibit employees or independent contractors from revealing confidential information to others. Non-solicitation agreements prohibit employees or independent contractors from soliciting the employer’s clients or customers for a certain period after the employment relationship ends. Non-competition agreements prohibit employees or independent contractors from working for a competitor for a certain period after the employment relationship ends.
Employers must ensure that these clauses are reasonable and enforceable in keeping with our changing legislative landscape in the jurisdiction in which they will be used.
Breach of Employment Contract
A breach of an employment contract occurs when one party fails to comply with the terms and conditions outlined in the contract. In such cases, the non-breaching party may take legal action to enforce the terms of the contract or seek damages for any losses incurred.
Contract law in BC is governed by the British Columbia Law of Contract Act. Employers must ensure that their employment contracts comply with the requirements set out in this legislation.
Employment law in Canada is governed by federal or provincial legislation, depending on the jurisdiction.
Employers in British Columbia that are provincially governed must comply with the Employment Standards Act, which sets minimum standards for employment contracts, including hours of work, overtime pay, and vacation entitlements. Employers are also required to ensure compliance with the Human Rights Code, and the Workers Compensation Act. Furthermore, there are privacy laws that will govern the limits of the collection, use and disclosure of employee personal information.
Employment Contract Lawyer BC
As a business, you have more than enough to worry about. Hiring the right lawyer will not only reduce the workload of your team, but it will ensure that you have the right processes in place moving forward. Here’s how an employment law firm will help you:
Drafting and Reviewing Employment Contracts
An employment contract lawyer can help you draft and review employment contracts and agreements, ensuring they meet British Columbia’s employment laws and regulations. They can also help you negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract to protect your business interests while complying with employment laws.
Resolving Employment Disputes
Employment disputes can be costly and time-consuming. An employment contract lawyer can help you resolve employment disputes, such as wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, and breach of contract.
Advising on Employment Law Compliance
Employment laws in British Columbia are continually changing. It can be challenging for employers to keep up with all the updates. An employment contract lawyer can advise you on compliance with employment laws. This includes minimum wage, overtime, vacation pay, and statutory holidays.